Sid Rosenberg had plenty of emotions spilling out of him after hearing that one of his former radio partners, Craig Carton, was arrested by the feds Wednesday morning on charges he ripped off millions of dollars from investors to pay off massive gambling debts.
The one emotion that rose up above the others: Sympathy.
“I know it sounds crazy, and I may be the only one in the country who feels this way but I actually look at it, because I’m a recovering addict, and I’ve had gambling issues in my life as well, there’s a part of me that’s sympathetic,’’ Rosenberg told The Post. “Like this guy is so sick. I went to Gamblers Anonymous time and time again, been abstinent for a long time, then I’d fall off the cliff a little bit.
“But I know how deadly the disease is, man. It’s like drugs and alcohol, that’s one thing, you can smell it, you can see it. But gambling is different. You can go years, no one is going to know. But you’re laying on your pillow at night and you’re like ‘How do I come up with a million dollars,’ and it’s terrible.
“He obviously did a lot of these things out of desperation and what he did was terrible, if it’s true. If he fleeced innocent people out of millions of dollars, he’s got to go to jail, he f—ed up. But that’s what happens with this disease.’’
Rosenberg is the co-host of the “Bernie and Sid Show’’ and a regular contributor on the “Imus in the Morning Show,’’ both on 77 WABC. He has a history with Carton. Back in 2000, they were co-hosts of the “The Sports Guys’’ on WNEW. Rosenberg has endured his share of addiction issues — he resigned from WFAN in 2005 after failing to show up to host a Giants pregame show and was fired by 560 WQAM in South Florida after a DUI arrest — and knows how damaging this can and will be to Carton.
“Even after talking bad about me on the radio for years and lying about me and exaggerating my situations I should be rejoicing about Craig Carton’s demise, more than [Mike] Francesa,’’ Rosenberg said. “But I’m not.’’
Rosenberg said his relationship with Carton was strong when they first worked together at WNEW but gradually deteriorated, mostly over differences of opinion about the direction of their show.
“The guy had the best job in the world, morning show host on FAN, to his credit, after Imus, he actually had a winning show, he did a good job, and it’s all over,’’ Rosenberg said. “He’s finished. Trust me. I must have got texts from 30 radio hosts across the country saying ‘What a dummy.’ You know what, you can call him a dummy, I look at him as a sick guy. I know what this disease does. If this is not the scariest tale of all, I don’t know what is.’’
With Francesa scheduled to leave the station in December and now this sudden turbulence with the morning show, WFAN is in crisis mode.
“If in fact he’s guilty here, he’ll never work again,’’ Rosenberg said. “If he’s exonerated he’s got a chance, but my fear is not getting back on the air at FAN is the least of his problems.’’
As for what likely will now be an unexpected opening on WFAN’s morning show, Rosenberg — once a popular and successful host at the station — said “I’m under contract at WABC. I love WABC, I love working with Bernie McGuirk, but I’ll always take a phone call.’’