The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

03 December 2007

Imus Candidate Praise Mirrors Citadel CEO's Contributions


Imus Pumps Up Candidates Supported By New Boss

*** NEW: Glitches Ruin Day Two ***

Since Don Imus's deal with Citadel - ABC Radio was first announced, many radio insiders have wondered why CEO Farid Suleman (below right image) would scrap an existing talk program for a less successful one.

Especially given Imus's still- radioactive status among major advertisers, it seems hard to believe the cash- bleeding company could view him as good for their troubled bottom line. So is this really a business decision?

It is possible that Imus was brought to Citadel - ABC in order to mirror Suleman's own personal political views. And what took place on his first day back provides evidence for this theory.

For example, during an interview with liberal historian / plagiarist Doris Kearns Goodwin, Imus made a point of praising Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) before their subsequent appearances on the show. Here's a transcript of the ensuing gagfest:

IMUS: Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, they'd be great presidents!

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: They would indeed.

IMUS: McCain would be a president (incoherent mumbling) in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt! Or Franklin Roosevelt!

KEARNS GOODWIN: I wouldn't count McCain out, I have a feeling...

IMUS: I haven't (counted him out)...

KEARNS GOODWIN: ...that the narrative that's coming in which we know obviously that he went through the worst kind of trial by fire and came through it strong, this campaign has been a trial by fire. And I think even if people don't agree with his positions on Iraq or immigration or campaign reform, he at least has stuck to his convictions. And I have a feeling that's why he's coming back a bit in the polls.

In an interesting coincidence, Suleman has personally contributed to the presidential campaigns of both Dodd and McCain, according to Newsmeat, which provides FEC reports on donations. Earlier this year, Farid sent Dodd $1300, while McCain's Straight Talk America received $5000 from the Citadel CEO last year.

Adding to the uncanny match- up of support for various candidates, Suleman has also been a backer of John Kerry in the past, which Imus endorsed in 2004. Beyond that, the former has aimed his political handouts at Democrats and liberal Republicans.

In addition, Suleman already has a dubious track record of meddling with other talk radio stations Citadel owns, including a positively baffling move to bump off Rush Limbaugh in favor of aging convicted felon Buddy Cianci at WPRO / Providence. This boneheaded move resulted in WPRO's competition being handed Limbaugh's top- rated show on a silver platter.

Cianci, a Democrat and former Providence mayor, was a longtime Imus suck-up before his conviction and imprisonment on corruption charges.

From here, we should be watching Imus to see if the interesting parallels between Suleman's views and the candidates Don touts continue to match.

Was the I-Man hired because they share the same views, or to give Citadel's boss an on-air political mouthpiece?

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  • McCain is a liberal? Imus supported 3 candidates in one breathe, McCain, Dodd and Biden. Imus is hard to pin politically indeed. I dont understand your point.

    Although I dislike Imus's presentation, it is indeed BORING, Imus is more successful than Curtis and Kuby. Imus bills millions, so in the radio world that makes him a winner, that is what matters in the business, I think you know this already. Billing is what matters. Imus can make a lot more money for Citadel, than a NY oriented Kuby and Sliwa, who would bomb if syndicated, and I like Kuby, and although I despise Curtis's view points, he does indeed do decent radio and is a hard worker on the air.
    WABC could become a listenable station if they continue on this track, vary the programming, just conservative talk all day is crap, and attracts a niche audience of over 55 year old McCarty followers.
    With coast to coast and Imus, you have variety. Remember WABC is not imaged as a "conservative talker" like WWRL which is imaged as "progressive talk", so WABC can indeed mix it up and probably end up with better results. Toss off Gambling and Ingrham and replace them with liberals or moderates, I would say cut Limbaugh as well (his numbers in N.Y SUCK) but the pig bills decently as well.
    Keep in mind, only 2 conservative talkers on WABC get killer ratings, Hannity and Levin.

    WABC can be the great tak station it used to be, when it used to have variety. With people as liberal as Lynn Samuals and Richard Bey and people as far right as Limbaugh( I used to listen all the time to WABC before it went all wing nut). WABC used to have a lot of decent programs on at one time, I remember Lionel in the mornings (when he was a-political and a satirist mostly)

    Until that happens to WABC, WWRL and WBAI and occasionally WNYC (NPR) are locked on my dial.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 03 December, 2007 16:41  

  • Yes, McCain is a liberal as even the most cursory look at his record will show... Can you say, "McCain-Feingold"?

    Did you forget McCain's pandering to the wetbacks?

    Did McCain ever vote to get rid of entitlements?

    Regarding WABC one wonders what sort of clueless clown decided to take advice from someone with a known history of screwing things up, Suleman?

    The history of putting LIBTARDS on the radio and expecting some sort of financial return has been abysmal...

    By Blogger juandos, at 04 December, 2007 07:29  

  • Sorry Brian, but Imus is not being brought aboard for political reasons - Citadel thinks that Imus can still get premium prices for his ads like he did before he was fired last April. Whether he can, or whether bringing Imus back is the latest of a string of bad decisions by Citadel management remains to be seen.

    By Blogger Stephen Johnson, at 04 December, 2007 11:10  

  • Nothing has changed. He still has the same guests as did before. He might be walking on pins and needles so he has to watch him mouth a bit, but so fare he's the same but Bernie's a bunch more quiet and Charles is a little subdued too. Give it a couple of weeks then critique it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 December, 2007 21:27  

  • re{ Citadel at PRO...the decision here was probably based on the fact that Rushes "group" Clear Channel can raise costs on the contracts that allow the competition (Citadel) to continue running the program...then, at any time, they can give notice that they are going to drop Citadel as a station that carries Rush, and go with the station they own ( or just want)...the question is, is it better to oust Rush on your own terms, or continue to raise his market penitration, only to have him pulled from your airwaves when Rush's group decides...better to be "PRO" active then reactive...Citadel has moved away from Rush in many markets for this very reason...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 December, 2007 23:23  

  • You are indeed correct that it's all about the billing in the radio world, and Imus In the Morning is a huge cash-cow, rain-maker, gravy-train, whatever you want to call it.

    However, you have to be able to produce the program in a quality, consistent manner in order to continue to demand and bill at the rates the show and advertisers became accustomed to. This morning's technical problems would be unacceptable in a tiny market in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota, much less in the largest market in the country.

    I'm shocked, as a veteran radio and TV production guy myself, that there was not a full and thorough dry-run and shakedown period before the show went on the air for the first time. It's not like they never encountered problems with the old MSNBC/WFAN simulcast set-up. You have to know that the basic studio communications systems work, the phone interviews can be done properly, all the on-air talent mic'd correctly, and basic levels and final signal are polished and clean.

    Come on, now, this is NYC, and the show is already in modest syndication.

    No one can bill like a big-dog when your show sounds less than a beginning college radio production.

    Imus handled things well on the air, but boy, I bet he was pissed-off and chewed out some ass off-the-air afterwards.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 December, 2007 00:08  

  • Imus stopped being funny when he became a PC Bush basher. The irony of his being kicked off the air for violating PC speech rules is apparently lost on him. He is the same liberal suck up he's always been, despite being dumped by his liberal friends, Tim Russert and Maureen Dowd.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 December, 2007 02:57  

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