The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

25 January 2008

Old Imus Sued, New Imus Avoids Controversy


One I-Man Sued, The New Version Snoozes

In 2008, it turns out, there are two Don Imus's: the old troublemaker, who can still generate controversy, as well as I-Man 2.0. While the latter snoozes through his new program, the previous version has somehow managed to get sued.

In filing suit against the previous Imus, FlatSigned Press has provided a refresher on the stark differences between the rabble- rouser of old and the boring, play- it- safe, sanitized remake. Via The Smoking Gun:

JANUARY 24--A Tennessee company is suing Don Imus for $4 million after the radio host allegedly disparaged the firm last year while reading its commercials on his show. FlatSigned Press alleges that Imus made snide comments about the company as he read spots advertising its sale of copies of the Warren Commission report signed by President Gerald Ford, a member of the government panel that investigated the John F. Kennedy assassination.

The January 2007 radio spots aired one month after Ford's death. The timing of the ads, it seems, prompted Imus to remark that FlatSigned--which sells autographed and collectible books--were "bastards" who waited for Ford "to croak so they could unload these." He then added, "Now that he's flat-lined, you go to"

Can you imagine Imus 2.0 pulling a stunt like this? He sounds more muzzled by the day. In fact, there's a fresh round of complaints about the show at the New York Radio Message Board, a site traditionally quite friendly to the I-Man.

Meanwhile, one former occupant of WABC's morning drive slot has taken to openly criticizing the new show. Curtis Sliwa, now relegated to one hour at 5am, told an interviewer that "Don Imus hasn't found his radio legs yet."

Until recently, it might have seemed risky to criticize Imus in public and continue one's employment with Citadel, but the company's position is now so weak that all bets are off. There are few I-Man defenders left and that's because in radio, boring the audience is a cardinal sin.

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Sliwa image: CTV- Halifax, NS


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