Imus in the Morning

Imus in the Morning
Imus in the Morning
Imus in the morning broadcast logos.jpg
Format Comedy, News, Politics, Talk radio
Starring Don Imus
Cast Members
Country of origin United States
Running time 4 hours (WABC)
3 hours 20 minutes (Fox Business)
Original channel WNBC/WFAN (Radio, 1971-2007)
MSNBC (Television, 1996-2007)
WABC/Cumulus Media Networks (Radio, 2007-present)
RFD-TV (Television, 2007-August 28, 2009 [1])
Fox Business Network (Television, October 5, 2009-present)
Picture format NTSC (480i),
720p (HDTV)
Original run 1971-1977, 1979-1988 (WNBC) – 1988-2007 (WFAN)
September 3, 1996-April 11, 2007 (MSNBC)
December 3, 2007-August 28, 2009 (RFD-TV)
December 3, 2007-present (WABC)
October 5, 2009-present (Fox Business Network)
External links

Imus in the Morning is an American radio show hosted by Don Imus on Cumulus Media Networks (formerly Citadel Media and ABC Radio Networks), and simulcast for television on Fox Business Network.

The show originated locally on WNBC radio in New York City in December 1971. In October 1988 the show moved to WFAN when that radio station took over WNBC's dial position following an ownership change. It was later syndicated to 60 other stations across the country by Westwood One, a division of CBS Radio, airing weekdays from 5:30 to 10 am Eastern time. Beginning September 3, 1996, the 6 to 9 am portion was simulcast on the cable television network MSNBC.

The show had been broadcast almost every weekday morning for 25 years on radio and 11 years on MSNBC until it was canceled on April 12, 2007 due to controversial comments made on the April 4 broadcast. The remark resulted in the program's cancellation the following week (see Cancellation).

The Imus in the Morning program returned to the morning drive on New York radio station WABC on December 3, 2007. WABC is the flagship station of ABC Radio Networks (now Cumulus Media Networks), which syndicates the show nationally. From 2007 to August 2009, the show was simulcast on television nationwide on RFD-TV and rebroadcast each evening on RFD HD in high-definition. After Imus and RFD reached a mutual agreement to prematurely terminate the five-year deal, Fox Business Network began simulcasting the program on October 5, 2009.



Following a successful run as an on-air personality in Cleveland, Don Imus was hired by WNBC to host Imus in the Morning in late 1971. Imus is credited with introducing New York, and the larger Top 40 radio community, to the shock jock style of hosting. His initial run in New York ended in August 1977, when NBC management ordered a purge of WNBC's on-air staff in order to revive sagging ratings. Imus returned to Cleveland, but NBC brought him back to New York only two years later. On September 3, 1979, Imus started off his first program back on WNBC with his old character/voice/bit, "The Reverend Billy Sol Hargus". The show regularly parodied songs and voices, satirizing national and local events and persons.

After WNBC was sold to Emmis Communications in 1988, a frequency shift on New York's AM radio dial saw WFAN, Emmis's sports-talk station, move to WNBC's 660 AM dial position. WNBC signed off in October 1988, and WFAN decided to retain Imus, replacing its original morning drive-time show hosted by Greg Gumbel.

Initially limited to the broadcast range of WFAN in the New York metropolitan area, the show's radio audience and influence expanded considerably once Westwood One began syndicating it in 1993.

During the WNBC years, Imus in the Morning was conducted out of NBC's radio studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The program then moved to the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens, WFAN's longtime studio home, but in 2005 the program moved to a dedicated Imus in the Morning set at MSNBC's studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, although certain cast members remained at the WFAN studios using a split-screen format. When at the Imus Ranch, Don Imus would broadcast the show from Ribera, New Mexico, while the rest of the cast remained in New York and New Jersey.

For the first 15 months of Imus' simulcast on RFD, the show originated from a custom set created for RFD located in the Cablevision Rainbow studios (home to the Fuse TV studios) in midtown Manhattan's Penn Plaza. In April 2009, the show moved to the multipurpose WABC radio studios; Imus cited the high cost of the Cablevision studios as being the reason for the move.

In September 2009, the show moved to Fox Business Network's television studios in Rockefeller Center, where Fox Business began simulcasting the program on October 5, 2009.

The final half-hour of the program consists mainly of replayed interviews and comedy bits played earlier in the program.

Influence and demographics

Originally considered a shock jock, Imus turned his show more towards politics and news and gained public influence as a result. During the 1990s, Imus in the Morning became increasingly important as a useful, non-traditional platform for politicians to express their views and gain exposure. Former U.S. Sen. Al D'Amato (R-N.Y.) was one of the first officeholders to ingratiate himself with "The I-man", as Imus was frequently called by cast and guests. The show's many guests included prominent politicians such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry, Vice President Dick Cheney, J.D. Hayworth and Harold Ford, Jr., as well as reporters and columnists from Newsweek, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and other media outlets. Among the cream of the press who regularly appeared on the show were Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, Dan Rather, Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell, Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, Howard Fineman, Mike Barnicle, Frank Rich, Jonathan Alter and Jeff Greenfield.

In 1996 as MSNBC was being launched, the original plan for weekday morning programming was to rerun the previous night's prime-time shows. However, NBC Executive Producer of Special Events and Breaking News David Bohrman suggested to NBC president Andy Lack that putting the newsmaking Imus program on the new cable channel was the right thing to do. Bohrman contacted Imus, and over the course of several visits and business conversations a deal was struck so that the radio program would be simulcast on MSNBC. Cameras were installed in the WFAN radio studio, and remotely controlled from MSNBC headquarters in New Jersey. One of the unique features of the first few years of the program was that the television version's commercials and the radio commercials happened at different times, which allowed TV viewers a voyeuristic view of Imus and his team getting ready for the next segments. The program was a huge success on cable news for quite a while. Bohrman (who Imus referred to as "Moosebutt") produced the first few dozen programs, then hired Terry Irving to become the day-to-day Executive Producer of the television version of the program. In 1997, Imus was named as one of Time magazine's "25 most influential people in America"; he was also on the cover of Newsweek in 1999.

In 2005, Imus in the Morning was carried by about 90 radio stations across the United States,[2] although at the time of its 2007 CBS Radio/MSNBC cancellation it was carried by 61 stations.[3] Arbitron analysis put the program among the most listened to radio talk shows in the United States,[4] with about 1.6 million radio listeners per week.[5]

In an April 26, 2005 article, David Kiley wrote in Business Week magazine that Imus in the Morning commanded higher advertising rates compared to competing talk shows with larger audiences, because the Imus show was less politically partisan and its demographics were "affluent, educated and influential men". Kiley also quoted former CBS News anchor and Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer as saying, "I don’t know anyone in Washington who doesn’t listen to Imus or watch him on TV. I get more feedback off my spots on Imus than from my own shows."[6] (This included the former Howard Stern terrestrial radio broadcast. In comparison, Stern attracted more than 8.25 million listeners on half as many stations and Rush Limbaugh attracts 13.5 million listeners).

At the time of its 2007 MSNBC cancellation, Imus in the Morning averaged 361,000 viewers in the first quarter of 2007 and was up 39 percent over the previous year, ranking third among cable morning news programs in the Nielsen ratings, compared to 769,000 viewers of Fox and Friends on Fox News Channel and 372,000 viewers of CNN's American Morning.[7] The program was reported to generate $20 million in annual revenue for WFAN, representing approximately 25 percent of the New York anchor station's revenue. Total revenue, including affiliate advertising and MSNBC, was said to be $50 million.[8] MSNBC is said to have paid CBS $4 million annually in simulcast fees and to have averaged $500,000 per year in production expenses.[5]

Imus generally selects country and western songs as bumper music, often playing them at substantial length, and he often promotes artists he likes such as Delbert McClinton, Lucinda Williams, Levon Helm, Little Sammy Davis, and The Flatlanders. Rock music, blues, oldies, rock and the occasional jazz piece is also used as bumper music. Imus is known for playing bumper music at a length that is unusual for talk radio.

Cast members

Imus in the Morning has a regular cast of members who supply news and comedy, and act as foils to Imus. Present cast members include:

  • Connell McShane is the program's newsman. McShane, an employee of Fox Business Network, took over the post May 9, 2011. He had previously rotated as the business reporter.
  • Diane Macedo[9] and Dagen McDowell rotate as business reporters, both being provided by Fox Business Network. McDowell and McShane rotated business reports prior to May 2011. McDowell is distinguished by her thick southern accent.
  • Bernard McGuirk, his producer, is the show's antagonist, whom Imus has sometimes referred to as a "bald-headed stooge"; he also performs character voices (such as New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, former New York Catholic Archbishops Cardinals Edward Egan and John Joseph O'Connor, and poet Maya Angelou). McGuirk was the only other member of the cast to lose his job in the Rutgers controversy[10] and was initially off air for the first few weeks of the revival before returning. He currently has an on-air role.
  • Tony Powell, an African-American comedian, originally gave sports reports, but has since become a general contributor and celebrity impersonator, usually impersonating black celebrities such as Malcolm X. He was one of two African-Americans added to the staff when the show returned on WABC and RFD; Texas native Karith Foster was the other, though Foster was eventually dismissed from the show in 2009 just prior to the move to Fox Business Network.
  • Rob Bartlett[11] impersonates a cast of celebrities (Bill Clinton, The Godfather, Dr. Phil, Brian Wilson, Hulk Hogan, Rush Limbaugh, Scott Muni, Omar Minaya, Alberto Gonzales, Vicente Fox, Al Gore, Blind Mississippi White Boy Pig Feets Dupris, Liza Minnelli, Carl Paladino, and many others)
  • Warner Wolf serves as the sportscaster. He had also served as sports reporter circa 2001 for the WFAN incarnation of the program; he reunited with Imus after several weeks on WABC, where Wolf had worked as sports reporter for the previous morning show of Curtis and Kuby before Imus had arrived.
  • Lou Rufino serves as the program engineer; he has a considerable on-air role, but does not appear on-air as often as the other cast members.
  • Bo Dietl is a private investigator and another regular correspondent.
  • Larry Gatlin, country music star who sat in as the guest host for vacationing Imus during the summer 2010.[12]

Part of the appeal of his show is the overt display of office politics: cast members are frequently the object of Imus' sarcasm, largely because of their outspoken points of view. The idea of including production staff as an on-air cast of characters was the idea of Fred Imus, Don's younger brother, who briefly served as the show's producer and was a regular guest on the show until his death in August 2011.[13]

From the 1970s until his retirement on May 6, 2011,[14] Charles McCord served as the program's newsman. In character, he usually acted as either the straight man or, occasionally, as an Imus sycophant or antagonist. McCord affected a neutral, reasoned tone and thus usually stayed out of Imus' line of fire, compared to the antics of the other cast members. The show has also had a series of cast members with shorter tenures on the program. Previous sports reporters have included Chris Carlin (best known for "the fat boy lock of the week!,") Patrick McEnroe (who auditioned to replace Imus on WFAN), Don Criqui, Mike Breen (valued for his deadpan delivery of false sports news, and ridiculed after his head injuries during the 2008 NBA Finals), and Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo. Sid Rosenberg is a semi-regular correspondent to the program, usually on sports-related topics, reporting via phone from his home in Florida. He has returned to a regular position on the show after being removed from his own show on WAXY in early 2009. Rosenberg first joined the show as a sports reporter after Wolf's departure, but was fired in May 2005 for comments made regarding Kylie Minogue's battle against breast cancer. He made sporadic appearances as a substitute between those times.

Other previous reporters included Janice Dean, Christy Musumeci, and Tracy Burgess, who departed for Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and WFAN respectively. Karith Foster, a Texas-raised black woman hired in the wake of the Rutgers controversy, was a comedian and general contributor, but left the show in August 2009 after her contract was not renewed. Larry Kenney, an impersonator who (along with Bartlett) served as a celebrity impersonator (some of the voices Kenney impersonated Richard Nixon, George Patton, Ted Kennedy, Andy Rooney, Jack Nicholson, and Jerry Falwell), but was bumped from the program when it returned on WABC and RFD in favor of Foster and Powell. Alexis Glick briefly served as a business reporter for the show shortly after it debuted on Fox Business, but left the show and the network after two months. For years, Larry "Ratso" Sloman contributed humorous New York Rangers reports but after he collaborated with Howard Stern on "Private Parts" he was persona non grata on the show and became a whipping boy for Imus especially when Imus' guest was Kinky Friedman, who is a close friend of Ratso.

Imus had regular guests on the program to discuss upcoming sporting events. Typically, these guests appeared only during the season of their respective sport. Such guests include Jim Nantz and Phil Simms (of CBS) and Terry Bradshaw (of Fox) for football, and Darrell Waltrip (of Fox) for NASCAR. During an interview with Boomer Esiason, after ridiculing him, Imus chided Esiason with a trademark phrase "get off my phone," insisting he hang up. Esiason shot back with "no, you get off my phone."


Imus offended President Bill Clinton with remarks in front of the Clintons during a 1996 Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner speech.[15]

On October 19, 1998, Newsday reported that Imus called Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz "that boner-nosed ... beanie-wearing little Jew boy".

Imus has had a long-standing rivalry with Howard Stern, dating back to their days at WNBC. It most recently boiled to the surface in 2003, when Stern called Imus while both were on the air to demand an apology for a comedy skit that Imus had aired. After exchanging insults, Imus cut Stern off.[16] In late 2005, Imus commented that he wished Stern would do well at Sirius satellite radio, as Imus held Sirius stock.

When the program was simulcast on MSNBC, Imus frequently ridiculed NBC/MSNBC personalities, staff, programs, and policies. During election coverage in 2004, NBC set up an outdoor interactive visitors attraction, Democracy Plaza at Rockefeller Center. Imus referred to it as "Hypocrisy Plaza."

On the December 15, 2004, Imus in the Morning show, Don Imus referred to the publishers Simon & Schuster as "thieving Jews" and later in the same show gave a mock apology, calling the phrase "thieving Jews", “redundant”.

Beginning in February 2005, MSNBC featured Amy Robach, and then-afternoon regular Contessa Brewer as news readers on Imus in the Morning. Brewer held the position for over two months and was the target of Imus's constant ridicule, which was initially dismissed as typical show fodder. On April 29, 2005, the New York Post published a statement attributed to Brewer calling Imus a "cantankerous old fool." He responded on-air by calling her "fat" and "painfully stupid," and hurled countless personal insults. Brewer left Imus in the Morning immediately.

On November 30, 2006, on Imus in the Morning, Imus referred to the Jewish management at CBS as “money-grubbing bastards”.

Sid Rosenberg, who provided sports updates on the Imus show, got into trouble when he suggested on air that tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams were animals better suited to pose for National Geographic than Playboy.[17] Rosenberg also stated that Palestinians mourning the death of Yasser Arafat were "stinking animals" upon whom the Israelis "ought to drop the bomb right there, kill 'em all right now..."[18] He was fired from the Don Imus show after making crude remarks about Australian singer Kylie Minogue's breast cancer diagnosis.[19] Chris Carlin replaced Rosenberg, although Rosenberg continued to call into the Imus program up until its cancellation on WFAN/MSNBC. He has appeared on the WABC/RFD incarnation on different occasions, notably providing reports from Super Bowl XLIII.


Rutgers women's basketball remarks

On the Imus in the Morning broadcast of April 4, 2007, at 6:14 a.m. eastern substitute sportscaster Sid Rosenberg of WAXY reported on Rutgers University's 59-46 loss the previous evening to the University of Tennessee, in the final game of the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship. As MSNBC rolled tape of the game footage, Imus said in a voiceover, "They're some rough girls from Rutgers. They got tattoos." Bernard McGuirk then interjected, "yeah, hardcore hos." Imus then added, "nappy-headed hos[20]". McGuirk then compared the game to "the jigaboos versus the wannabes," alluding to the Spike Lee film School Daze.[21]

The following day, Bryan Monroe, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists, described Imus's comments as "beyond offensive"[22] and called for his immediate firing. MSNBC responded later that day with a statement disassociating itself from Imus's remarks. On the April 6 Imus in the Morning show, Imus expressed regret over his remarks, contending that it was said in jest by "a good man who did a bad thing".

On Saturday, April 7, the Rev. Al Sharpton, described by the New York Times as "among the leaders of the movement to force Don Imus off the air", told an angry audience in Harlem, New York that Imus should be "taken off the airwaves" for the racially disparaging remark.[23]

Protest demonstrations by "Rainbow/PUSH" in Chicago, Illinois, in front of NBC's owned-and-operated Chicago station were led by Rev. Jesse Jackson on April 9 as 50 demonstrators held signs reading "No apologies, no forgiveness" and chanting "Imus must go".[24]

Also on April 9, presidential candidate Barack Obama termed Imus's comments, "Divisive, hurtful, and offensive to Americans of all backgrounds", saying "With a public platform comes a trust. As far as I'm concerned, he violated that trust".[24]

Clarence Page, who had occasionally been a guest on Imus in the Morning, wrote that Imus broke a promise made to him six years previously to eschew racially offensive remarks.[25]

Amidst the gathering protests, Imus delivered a second, lengthier apology at the beginning of the Imus in the Morning program on Monday, April 9 and offered to meet with the Rutgers team to apologize personally. Imus again stated that he "is a good person who made a very bad mistake", citing his charitable works. Later that day, CBS Radio and NBC (which owns MSNBC through its NBC News division) announced a two-week suspension of Don Imus' program on radio and television starting Monday, April 16. The initial delay in the start of the suspension was to allow the WFAN Radiothon, which was to begin on April 12, to still be broadcast on MSNBC. NBC News President Steve Capus released a prepared statement explaining the network's action:

“Beginning Monday, April 16, MSNBC will suspend simulcasting the syndicated Imus in the Morning radio program for two weeks. This comes after careful consideration in the days since his racist, abhorrent comments were made. Don Imus has expressed profound regret and embarrassment and has made a commitment to listen to all of those who have raised legitimate expressions of outrage. In addition, his dedication – in his words – to change the discourse on his program moving forward, has confirmed for us that this action is appropriate. Our future relationship with Imus is contingent on his ability to live up to his word.”

MSNBC cancellation

MSNBC Imus in the Morning logo

On Wednesday, April 11, 2007, NBC News announced that MSNBC would no longer simulcast Imus in the Morning, effective immediately.

This decision comes as a result of an ongoing review process, which initially included the announcement of a suspension. It also takes into account many conversations with our own employees. What matters to us most is that the men and women of NBC Universal have confidence in the values we have set for this company. This is the only decision that makes that possible. Once again, we apologize to the women of the Rutgers basketball team and to our viewers. We deeply regret the pain this incident has caused.

—Steve Capus, NBC News President, "MSNBC drops simulcast of Don Imus show". MSNBC. April 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 

Several advertisers of Imus in the Morning announced their withdrawal from sponsorship, including General Motors (Imus' biggest advertiser) Staples Inc., Sprint Nextel, American Express, and Procter & Gamble.[5]

Capus also revealed that in staff meetings, NBC's African-American news staff and on-air personalities opposed Imus' return to MSNBC, with Al Roker of the Today show expressing particularly strong opposition both internally and on the Today show's website. Capus denied, however, that the loss of ad revenue was a determining factor in his network's decision to drop Imus. He was quoted by the New York Times as saying that "The reputation of the news division means more to me than advertising dollars. Because if you lose your reputation, you lose everything."[5] The absence and silence from Imus' frequent NBC guests Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell, David Gregory, Chris Matthews and close 'friend' Tim Russert was obvious and an indication of NBC's future action.[26]

MSNBC's timing of Imus' cancellation was criticized on WFAN, as Imus in the Morning had been scheduled to kick off the 18th Annual WFAN Radiothon, a large annual fundraising event, the next morning. The Radiothon aired April 12 on radio only.

Asked for his reaction, Sharpton told The New York Times that "we have been halfway successful so far" and that he was planning to organize a demonstration in front of CBS’s Manhattan corporate headquarters. He said, "This has never been about Don Imus. I have no idea whether he is a good man or not. This is about the use of public airwaves for bigoted, racist speech."[5]

CBS Radio cancellation

On Thursday morning, April 12, 2007, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton met with CBS President and CEO Les Moonves to demand that Imus be fired. That afternoon, Moonves issued a statement announcing that CBS Radio had cancelled Imus in the Morning, effective immediately:.[27][28]

From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent.

Leslie Moonves, CBS President and CEO, "CBS Corp says cancels Don Imus radio show". Reuters. 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 

Following the announcement, Jackson called the removal "a victory for public decency. No one should use the public airwaves to transmit racial or sexual degradation."[27]

Sharpton said of Imus, "He says he wants to be forgiven. I hope he continues in that process. But we cannot afford a precedent established that the airways can commercialize and mainstream sexism and racism."[27]

The final day of the WFAN Radiothon, April 13, was co-hosted by Deirdre Imus and Charles McCord during the hours when Imus in the Morning formerly aired.

Reaction to the cancellation

Don and Deirdre Imus met with the Rutgers team on the evening of April 12 at the New Jersey Governor's Mansion, according to a report broadcast by CNN, which characterized the meeting as "emotional". C. Vivian Stringer, coach of the Rutgers team, said the next day that she and her team "still find his statements to be unacceptable," but that they accepted Imus's apology.[29]

Civil rights and women's groups such as the National Organization for Women praised CBS and MSNBC for their action, saying that there is no place on the public airwaves for racial and anti-female slurs. Newsweek magazine in its April 23, 2007 cover story said that for too long its own reporters coveted an invitation to appear on Imus in the Morning:

Suddenly some of America's largest media companies and most important corporate advertisers were confronted with the fact that they had been complicit in the rise and reign of a purveyor of ugly stereotypes. Mainstream figures and institutions that had chosen to compartmentalize the Imus kingdom "enjoying the salon while overlooking the slurs" realized they could no longer have it both ways.

— "The Power That Was", Newsweek , "The Power That Was". Newsweek. April 23, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 

Others, however, criticized the cancellation of Imus in the Morning as a "double standard", arguing that Imus was merely echoing the misogyny common to rap music lyrics heard on recordings, MTV, and BET.[30] This idea itself, however, has been countered, as some think it laughable that "pundits and politicians have apparently decided on a consensus culprit to cleanse the national soul: hip-hop" .[31]

In reaction to the Imus show and its cancellation, there were calls for an end to offensive language in the rap music genre.[32] "Bo" Dietl, a regular guest on Imus in the Morning denounced Moonves on Fox News Channel for CBS' cancellation of Imus while producing rap music with anti-female lyrics, saying, "Mr. Les Moonves, you care about the quality, why don't you care about your CBS records with all the garbage my 17-year-old daughter listens to and they use this word 'ho' back and forth and they degrade women all the time. If I thought that Don Imus was a racist in any part, shape or form, I wouldn't be here today."[3]


Before his show was canceled, Imus and CBS had signed a contract extension for about $10 million per year.[33] Before Imus could explore another broadcasting job it was necessary for Imus and CBS to reach a settlement on the contract.[34]

On May 4, 2007, Martin Garbus, a lawyer for Imus, claimed that the broadcasters of the program could have edited Imus's comments, given that the program was subject to tape delay. The lawyer also indicated that Imus would sue CBS Radio for $120 million in unpaid salary and damages. CBS Radio replied that it would vigorously defend against the suit.[35]

During a June 29, 2007 broadcast, comments were made by WFAN host Mike Francesa and McCord which seemed to indicate that Imus would be returning to the air in the near future, possibly rejoining WFAN. The comments were made during a 20th anniversary celebration of WFAN, as part of a broadcast meant to honor Imus's contribution to the station. McCord noted that the broadcast seemed to reflect on Imus through a rear-view mirror. Then he quipped, "Be warned: Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear." Francesa then cryptically added that by, "this September, I hope the team will once again be complete."[36][37] Technically, both comments were accurate: McCord's "warning" could be seen as a prediction that he and Imus would reunite, which would indeed happen on a rival station, and Francesa's comment was true on the basis that Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton took over the morning position permanently in September 2007.

On August 14, 2007, it became clear that Imus would not return to WFAN when it was announced that Imus and CBS agreed to a settlement.[38]

Broadcast return

Although speculated since his dismissal, the return to morning radio for Imus was officially announced by New York talk-radio station WABC on November 1, 2007. The show's first broadcast aired on December 3.[39][40] The financial package between Imus and WABC is a 5-year deal worth up to $40 million.[41]

Newsman Charles McCord, producer Bernard McGuirk, and engineer Lou Rufino are part of the new show, along with most of television production crew that worked the MSNBC broadcast; the first guests were historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Senator John McCain, Senator Christopher Dodd, Democratic Party strategist James Carville, and Imus regular Bo Dietl.

A significant rollout of Imus in the Morning took place in March 2008 following mass layoffs at Citadel Broadcasting. Imus was packaged with The True Oldies Channel to replace select underperforming Citadel stations. In August, Imus claimed his show was heard on more stations than it was at the time of his 2007 firing.

As of late 2009 the show remains one of the ten most listened to morning shows in New York City.[42]

Television simulcast


Imus was originally in talks with "big-market" TV suitors Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, and others to simulcast the show on national television.[43][44][45][46] On November 13, it was announced that a 5-year deal was reached to simulcast Imus in the Morning on RFD-TV, which is available on both DISH Network and DirecTV but only (as of November 2007) on a limited number of cable providers. The number of systems carrying RFD was anticipated to increase because of the Imus deal.[47][48] The show was broadcasted from 6-9am eastern time on RFD-TV and from 6-9pm in high-definition on RFD HD. In addition, the RFD press release announcing the deal stated:

"[RFD] is developing plans to offer the Imus video programming through new technologies including VOD, streaming, and pod casts, as well as, seek worldwide distribution of the RFD-TV production to obtain the highest possible audience.".[49]

However, during the program's tenure on RFD, none of the above "new technologies" (VOD, streaming, nor a podcast) ever materialized. (These would eventually arrive in 2011, long after Imus left the network.)

Fox Business

The final show on RFD TV aired August 28, 2009. Although the contract between Imus and RFD was originally for five years, both parties decided to mutually end the simulcast prematurely, amid reports of the program's inevitable move to Fox Business.[1] Shortly thereafter, Imus inked a new television deal with Fox Business Network (FBN), a channel that was already a significant sponsor of the show.[50]

The show debuted on FBN on October 5, 2009.[51] The Imus in the Morning program physically moved from ABC Radio studios to Fox Business studios as part of the deal, and is simulcasted live on FBN from 6am to 9am ET. On January 18, 2010, Imus in the Morning was extended by 20 minutes on Fox Business Network, from 6am to 9:20am ET, after the abrupt cancellation of The Opening Bell on Fox Business. Thus, virtually the entire show is now simulcast on television.

Station listing

Calls Frequency Branding Format Market Timeslot Group owner
FBN Cable/Satellite Fox Business Business, News United States Live 6A - 9.20A ET News Corp.
WABC flagship station 770 kHz NewsTalk Radio 77 News/Talk New York, NY Live 6A-10A Cumulus Media
KABC 790 kHz TalkRadio 790 KABC Talk Los Angeles, CA Live 3A-5A Cumulus Media
WCFO 1160 MHz News/Talk 1160 News/Talk Atlanta, GA Live 6A-10A JW Broadcasting
KFNX 1110 kHz Newstalk Radio News Talk Information Phoenix, AZ 3A-6A Clear Channel Communications
WTAN 1340 kHz TanTalk 1340 News Talk Information Tampa, FL Live 6A-9A/Tape 11A-Noon Radio World Inc.
WDCF 1350 kHz Dade City Talk News Talk Information Dade City, FL Live 6A-10A Radio World Inc.
WELE 1380 kHz Goliath Radio News Talk Info Ormond Beach, FL Live 6A-10A Goliath Radio
WPRV 790 kHz True Oldies 790 Oldies Providence, RI Live 6A-9A Cumulus Media
WTAR 850 kHz AM850 WTAR Sports/Talk Norfolk, VA Live 6A-9A Sinclair Broadcast Group
WNRS 1420 kHz ESPN Radio Sports Utica, NY Live 6A-9A Arjuna Broadcasting Corp.
WHDQ 106.1 MHz Q106 Classic Rock Claremont, NH Live 6A-10A Nassau Broadcasting, Corp.
WEMJ 1490 kHz News/Talk 1490 News/Talk Laconia, NH Live 6A-10A Nassau Broadcasting, Corp.
WJDY 1470 kHz NEWS/TALK 1470 WJDY News Talk Information Salisbury, MD Live 6A-10A Clear Channel Communications
WQTK 92.7 MHz The North Country's News and Talk Authority News Talk Information Ogdensburg, NY Live 6A-10A Community Broadcasters, L.L.C.
WARK 1490 kHz 1490 WARK News Talk Information Hagerstown, MD Live 6A-10A Nassau Broadcasting
WVPO 840 kHz The Poconos' Oldies Station Talk/Sports Stroudsburg, PA Live 6A - 9A Nassau Broadcasting
WPLY 960 kHz
KTBL 1050 kHz KTBL-AM 1050 News Talk Albuquerque, NM 6A-10A Cumulus Media
KWTO 98.7 MHz The Jock Sports Springfield, MO Live 5A - 9A Meyer Communications
WSPO 1390 kHz, 99.3 MHz Charleston's Sports Leader Sports Charleston, SC Live 6A - 9A Apex Broadcasting
WNBU 94.1 MHz Greatest Hits of the 60's and 70's All Day Long Oldies New Bern, NC Live 6A- 9A Innes Bank Media
WELI 960 kHz New Haven's News/Talk News/Talk New Haven, CT Live 6A- 9A Clear Channel Communications
WBSS 1490 kHz WBSS 1490 News/Talk Atlantic City, NJ Live 6A- 10A Access 1 NJ
KJDL 1420 kHz Newsradio 1420 News/Talk Lubbock, TX 6A- 9A Walker Broadcasting & Comm.
WZAN 970 kHz Maine's Talk Radio News/Talk Portland, ME Live 6A - 10A Saga Communications
KSRO 1350 kHz News/Talk 1350 KSRO News/Talk Santa Rosa, CA 9A- Noon Maverick Media LLC
KCAA 1050 kHz 1050 KCAA News/Talk Loma Linda, CA 7A-9A Broadcast Management Services
WWSC 1450 kHz The Tri-County's Heritage Station News/Talk Glens Falls, NY 6A-9A Regional Radio Group, LLC
KXIO 106.9 MHz KIX 106 News/Sports Little Rock, AR 5A-9A
WSVU 960 kHz Seaview AM 960 Adult Standards/MOR West Palm Beach, FL 6A-10A North Palm Beach Broadcasting, Inc.
KTMS 990 kHz News Talk AM 990 News/Talk Santa Barbara, CA 3-7A Rincon Broadcasting
WBEC 1420 kHz AM 1420 Newstalk Sports News/Talk/Sports Pittsfield, MA 6A-9A Vox Radio Group
WQSO 96.7 MHz The Wave Classic Hits Portsmouth, NH 6A-9A Clear Channel Communications
WGFT 1330 kHz Y-Town's Talk Station Talk Youngstown, OH 6A-9A Stop 26 Riverbend Licences, LLC
WMEL 1300 kHz Space Coast Source for News & Talk Talk Melbourne, FL 6A-9A Twin Towers Broadcasting
WEAV 960 kHz The Zone Talk Plattsburgh, NY 6A-9A Vox Communications
KNFO 106.1 MHz Sports Talk in Aspen Sports Aspen, CO 4A-7A NRC Broadcasting
KVEN 1450 kHz The Boomer Oldies Ventura, CA 3A-7A Cumulus Media
KCSF 1300 kHz The Sports Animal 1300 Sports Colorado Springs, CO 5A-9A Cumulus Media
KEXO 1230 kHz Newstalk Radio News Talk Information Grand Junction, CO 6A-10A Cumulus Media
WLEE 990 kHz News Talk 990 News Talk Richmond, VA 6A-9A Radio Richmond
WSPZ 690 kHz The Sports Animal Sports Birmingham, AL 6A-9A Cumulus Media
KJLL 1330 kHz The Jolt News Talk Information Tucson, AZ 3A-6A Hudson Communications
WHEN 620 kHz Sportsradio 620 Sports Syracuse, NY 6A-10A Clear Channel Communications
KAPE 1550 kHz Kape Radio 1550 News/Talk/Sports Cape Girardeau, MO 5A-9A Withers Broadcasting
WTCS 1490 kHz News/Talk 1490 WTCS News Talk Information Fairmont, WV Live 6A-10A Fantasia Broadcasting

Note: all times local


  • "Quack quack" -- sound effect played whenever Imus said the time.
  • "SHUT UP!" -- sound effect used to cut short a sound bite from an unscrupulous politician.
  • "That'llllll be fine" -- said in response to provocative descriptions by other cast members.
  • "I luv yar Fred ...Who do you like in the car race?" -- Imus speaking to brother Fred via phone.
  • "Aw man it don't get much better than that" --used to describe musical acts either played on tape or performing in studio.
  • "Haaave muy-see" --similar to the previous quote.
  • "My man Richard Santouli started this (Net Jets Inc.) over there on Wall Street doodling when he should have been doing work."
  • "Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, Hillary Clinton is still Satan, and I'm back on the radio" - December 3, 2007 inaugural broadcast on ABC Radio[52]
  • "No more cows, baby... no more cows." - Responding to news of him leaving RFD-TV[53]


  1. ^ a b Don Imus, RFD Part Ways - Move Pays Could Pave Way For Disc Jockey To Join Fox Business Network
  2. ^ Imus in the Morning audio archives
  3. ^ a b "CBS fires Don Imus from radio show", Los Angeles Times, April 13, 2007.
  4. ^ Talkers Magazine online
  5. ^ a b c d e Bill Carter (2007-04-12). "NBC News Drops Imus Show Over Racial Remark". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ David Kiley (2005-04-26). "Imus audience slips in New York. But he still packs a punch". BusinessWeek. 
  7. ^ Tim Cuprisin, "Plagued by soft ratings, O'Briens ousted as CNN morning anchors", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 11, 2007.
  8. ^ Johnnie L. Roberts, Newsweek magazine, April 11, 2007.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Neil Best (April 19, 2007). "Imus sidekick booted, too". (registration required)
  11. ^ Website of Rob Bartlett
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Hinckley, David (2011-08-06). Fred Imus, songwriter and brother of Don Imus, dies at 69. New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  14. ^ Hinckley, David (2011-04-14). Don Imus wingman Charles McCord calling it quits after 48 years behind the mic: Sources. New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
  15. ^ "Imus' speech to the Radio & TV Correspondent's dinner transcript". Retrieved 2006-09-28. 
  16. ^ Joseph Planta (2003-12-08). "Imus vs. Stern". 
  17. ^ Sid Rosenberg audio on the Williams sisters.
  18. ^ "Palestinians called 'Stinking Animals' on MSNBC's 'Imus'". The Council on American-Islamic Relations. 2004-11-18. 
  19. ^ Sid Rosenberg audio on Kylie Minogue.
  20. ^ "Imus called women's basketball teamnappy-headed hos". 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  21. ^ "Imus Apologizes For Controversial Comments About Rutgers Players". WNBC New York. 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  22. ^ "Talk-Radio Host Don Imus Apologizes for On-Air Racial Slurs Against Rutgers Women's Basketball Team". 2007-04-06.,2933,264646,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  23. ^ Manny Fernandez, New York Times, April 8, 2007.
  24. ^ a b Dan Blake, "Jackson leads local protest", Chicago Tribune, April 10, 2007.
  25. ^ Clarence Page, "Don Imus' trail of woe", Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2007.
  26. ^ Cliff Kincaid (April 12, 2007). "Tim Russert Abandons Don Imus: Leads the Cowardly Suits at NBC". The National Ledger. Retrieved September 15, 2007. 
  27. ^ a b c David Bauder, "Don Imus loses job in stunning fall", Associated Press, April 12, 2007.
  28. ^ Breaking News From MSNBC- Don Imus Fired From CBS Radio (From YouTube)
  29. ^ "Rutgers coach says Imus' apology accepted". CNN. April 13, 2007. Archived from the original on April 17, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007. 
  30. ^ Jerry Della Femina, "Imus in the Mourning", New York Post, April 13, 2007.
  31. ^ Dave Zirin and Jeff Chang, "Hip-Hop's E-Z Scapegoats", The Nation, May 8, 2007.
  32. ^ Marcus Franklin, "With Imus gone, critics turning to rap", Associated Press, April 13, 2007.
  33. ^ Radio? Retirement? Fired Imus faces uncertain future
  34. ^ Off the Air: The Light Goes Out for Don Imus
  35. ^ Imus lawyer: Bosses could've cut remarks
  36. ^ Don Kaplan (2007-07-02). "Talking up Imus: radio signals of a WFAN comeback". New York Post. 
  37. ^ Mike Boyle (2007-07-02). "Is Imus returning?". Radio & Records. 
  38. ^ "Imus settles with CBS, negotiating with WABC",, August 14, 2007
  39. ^ WABC Press Release. 1 November 2007.
  40. ^ First Broadcast of Imus in the Morning on WABC Radio, New York
  41. ^ Peter Lauria (2007-11-01). "Don Imus Back on the Air". New York Post. 
  42. ^ Hinckley, David (November 10, 2009). "On the Radio: News outlets WINS and WCBS-AM tops in morning radio ratings". Daily News (New York). 
  43. ^ Drudge, Matt. NO TV DEAL SET FOR IMUS RETURN. Drudge Report. 5 October 2007.
  44. ^ Jacques Steinberg (2007-10-17). "Source: Imus in Talks With Channel That Has Long Rural Rreach". New York Times. 
  45. ^ Howard Kurtz (2007-10-06). "Don Imus Close To Deal for Return To Airwaves Dec. 1". Washington Post. 
  46. ^ Verne Gay (2007-10-11). "Source: Imus' Radio Re-entry Spawns World of Talk". Newsday.,0,1840782.story. 
  47. ^ Jacques Steinberg (2007-10-14). "Rural Channel Will Carry Imus Show". New York Times. 
  48. ^ Beverly Keel (2007-11-05). "Source: RFD-TV hopes Imus opens urban markets". The Tennessean. 
  49. ^ RFD-TV Press Release (2007-11-14). "Don Imus comes home to RFD-TV". 
  50. ^ Hinckley, David (September 3, 2009). "Shock jock Don Imus signs television deal with Fox Business Network". Daily News (New York). 
  51. ^ Broadcasting and Cable September 3, 2009 Imus to Join Fox Business Network - Multi-year deal will bring radio host to FBN starting Oct. 5
  52. ^ Celizic, Mike (2007-12-03). "Don Imus better find that old fire, and fast". Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  53. ^

External links

Preceded by
Greg Gumbel
WFAN morning show
Succeeded by
Boomer and Carton in the Morning
Preceded by
MSNBC morning show
Succeeded by
Morning Joe
Preceded by
Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby
WABC morning show
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Money for Breakfast
Fox Business Network morning show
Succeeded by

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