The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

03 December 2007

Imus Return Generates Negative Reviews From Supporters, Opponents


Wimpy, Pandering Imus Return Widely Slammed

*** NEW: Was Imus Rehired For Political Purposes? ***

Sounding older and more tired than ever, a neutered Don Imus returned to the airwaves today, struggling for words and rehashing ancient history.

In fact, the only real fireworks came before the show, where a newly- demoted Curtis Sliwa slammed the station for replacing his higher- rated show for Imus's doomed return.

As a result, even some of the I-Man's most vocal supporters are panning his WABC debut, which featured a ridiculous attempt at pandering to African- American listeners via a new sidekick. Hilariously, Al Sharpton is happy with the new show.

From the New York Post:

Imus' black sidekick is an Oxford-educated Texas cowgirl whose career has ranged from broadcast journalism to stand-up comedy, sources told The Post.

Karith Foster, a Harlem resident who grew up outside Dallas, was brought on by Imus to ease tension stirred up by his racist comment about the Rutgers women's basketball team, which got him booted in April, sources said.

Foster was raised in upscale Plano, Texas, which she describes on her Web site as having “the ethnic diversity of a Klan rally."

After earning a degree in broadcast journalism from Missouri's Stephens College, she went on to study at Oxford University in England before taking a reporting job at ABC.

She later moved to the production team of Barbara Walters' “The View" - where she was exposed to the world of stand-up comedy.

With The View on her resume, Foster most certainly has PC liberal credentials!

Kicking off in front of a live audience, Imus rambled at length about the Rutgers story, now eight months old. First, however, a live band inexplicably took over most of the initial segment.

The first hour is available for download here (CAUTION: may induce drowsiness).

Worse, Imus settled right back into the worst of his old habits, including lengthy discussions with family members.

In addition, there were suck- up interviews with some of Don's dullest (or most liberal) past guests, including Doris Kearns Goodwin, James Carville, Senator Dodd and others.

While chatting with Goodwin, Imus expressed support for Democrat presidential candidate Dodd and GOP contender John McCain. Federal filings show Citadel CEO Farid Suleman (Imus's new boss) has recently donated to both the Dodd and McCain campaigns.

At the New York Radio Message Board, traditionally a bastion of strong support for Imus, reviews were almost entirely negative. A quick sampling:

...more boring and dry inside baseball... rehashing the Rutgers story... all the stuff we all agreed here he should not do, he is doing.

I hope it gets better from here because this is unlistenable.



Posted by Allan Sniffen on December 03, 2007 at 08:35:25:

In Reply to: Re: It's 620am on Imus and here he goes again... posted by steve beach on December 03, 2007 at 08:11:13:

>>>It is 8:07 and he is still talking about Rutgers. <<<

No he's not. He's talking about it again. That's different. And the reason is because you have a different audience at 8 AM then you had at 6 AM. If he wants to get his message out, he has to do it more than once in AM Drive. That's the way the daypart works.

>>> If your an Imus fan you better hope "the wife" does not assume an increasing role. <<<

There I agree. Imus' biggest problem (and this isn't new) is his tendancy to become too self indulgent. A little of Diedre (sp?), "The Ranch" and Fred goes a long way. And, even worse, I don't like him playing country music (or any other kind of music) on his show. This is a TALK show. That's what makes it work. Too much time on these diversions weakens the show.


Saw a video bite on The Today Show. I admit I am no fan of his, but the guy is still apologizing. Geez !!!!!! Ron Soldano ... I turned him off as soon as I heard Rutgers. Don't think I'll be back. Imus, you blew it. Go!


posted by Allan Sniffen on December 03, 2007 at 08:42:41:

>>A few interviews on MSNBC? That's what you're basing your opinion of his *radio* show on?<<

Please take the time to actually *read* what I said! I said *often*. But I guess you're a better judge of my listening habits than I am. Anyway, I'll be sure to judge the show by what I hear in the future. So far this morning, other than the McCain interview (who cares about Dodd?), I'm not impressed. The apology (which prompted my original comment) was rambling and dull, the woman cackling in the background (is that his wife?) is a real annoyance, the Bill Clinton bit was terrible and I'm not enjoying the music. But I'm still listening so maybe it's not as bad as I think.

In addition, several radio insiders have emailed your Radio Equalizer this morning to express similar views. While supporters might say that he needs time to get back into the swing of things, a host with decades of on- air experience should have been raring to go after eight months off the air. Instead, Imus was dead on arrival today.

Predictably, however, Imus's mainstream media friends are applauding his return and covering for his newfound weakness. Case in point: The New York Times, which tried to claim he was still as bold as the old I-Man of many years ago.

From here, the big question is whether Suleman will continue his plan to force Imus onto otherwise- successful ABC Radio stations across the country. Many are worried that Suleman will continue to damage our successful medium before his company's severe financial distress brings Citadel to its knees.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

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Foster image: NY Post


  • Don't start again please. It was the first show and you know he was not going to go beyond any imaginary lines. You know better then that.

    And if you are always on a moderation status. You do not believe in free speech. When you just throw out your diatribes that are looked at as being silly.

    Be fair the next time you post about Don Imus.

    By Blogger Bruce, at 03 December, 2007 13:38  

  • Brian,

    Curtis Sliwa has every right to be angry; he is the premiere voice of 77/WABC. However, his tone this morning was quite different from the professional view he expressed on Friday's show. Yet to blame the station when the owners are at fault seems disingenuous.

    You are entitled to your opinion on Don Imus, but please be even handed.

    In addition, there were suck- up interviews with some of Don's dullest (or most liberal) past guests, including Doris Kearns Goodwin, James Carville, Senator Dodd and others.

    And there were interviews with Mary Matalin and Senator McCain. While I will agree with you the Senator is hardly a standard-bearer for Conservatives, I would submit Ms. Matalin is hardly Liberal or boring.

    What Mr. Imus had today was a typical lineup; it may not draw the same numbers in NYC as did Curtis Sliwa, but already many of his old sponsors are back. With A-list politicians and news-makers, the ratings he held for so long can't be far behind. So far, the sponsors seem to agree.

    I'm no fan of Country Music (in fact I consider the term to be largely an oxymoron), but I don't anyone who can honestly knock The Levon Helm Band.

    Well, perhaps I have in you.

    By Blogger Charlie on the PA Turnpike, at 03 December, 2007 13:46  

  • At least it got that moron Sliwa off the air, and is enraging the provincials.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 03 December, 2007 15:53  

  • Aaah, the new playbook. If you can't get rid of talk radio, then buy the station and run it into the ground.

    Brian, they did that to KVI in Seattle.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 December, 2007 20:40  

  • As a long time Imus fan I was already fed up with (a) his wife's droning on and on about her environmental activism and hawking her cleaning products (b) the country music time filler crap (c) his phony guests who were there only to sell books. None of his regular guests would have been caught dead having a cup of coffee with him if he didn't have the selling power he possessed to put books on the NY Times best sellers list. Russert, Maureen Dowd, Andrea Mitchell etc. Where was Chris Matthews, Harold Ford, David Gregory, Jonathan Alter etc?

    Hopefully Imus doesn't go soft and let them off the hook. His first show today isn't a very good barometer of what's to come because he still needs to win over the sponsors, so things will be luke warm for a few weeks until he gets into a rythym. If his show is still stuck in neutral by Valentines Day, I'll be tuning out.

    By Anonymous coolhand, at 03 December, 2007 20:58  

  • Even to someone who doesn't care for Imus it's unfair to judge the return based on one show.

    But if it an emblematic performance of the new show, look for the Imus ratings slide to continue

    By Blogger StevJohn2000, at 04 December, 2007 11:44  

  • Don needs to relax. Need more collaboration and input from the group/just seems more "careful".
    Please work on the syndication! I live east of Hartford, don't get RFDTV, and have to listen on laptop...die hard fan, make it easier!

    By Blogger susanmartha, at 09 December, 2007 16:51  

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