Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Imus Effect

April 12, 2007

The Imus Effect

With Don imus now fired, it seems appropriate to speak about what the impact will be. The Imus effect is not about listeners and subscribers…..Rather it is about a programming vacuum, radio personality conduct, and advertising dollars.

With the departure of Imus, terrestrial radio is now short a morning talk show host. Not the end of the world, but this comes on the heels of Stern making a move to satellite.

In the span of a bit over a year, terrestrial radio has lost two long time staples. Even 1 year after Sterns departure, radio stations are posting ratings substantially lower than when Stern was on the air. CBS had hired David Lee Roth to replace stern in many markets, and wound up pulling his show very quickly. CBS still carries Roth on the payroll.

When Stern left terrestrial radio, and influx of listeners as well as advertising dollars gravitated to satellite. With Imus now off the airwaves, what will happen to those advertising dollars that he used to command? Likely much of it will stay with terrestrial, but some will also find its way to the internet and satellite as well.

Will Roth get a second chance in the Imus slot? That is a feasible option. His show did not hold onto Stern fans, but how would it do with former Imus fans? At first blush, it may not seem like a match, but Roth is versatile, and he could potentially pull off a show…..even if only while a search for a new host happens. He is already on the payroll, and there is a need to fill a gap in the programming.

The other facet of this boils down to the conduct of radio personalities. What can and can’t be said on radio? Does it apply to terrestrial as well as satellite? How do we know if someone has gone to far? These are questions that many will be thinking about in this industry.

In the end, it will be interesting to watch how all of this plays out. Will CBS keep Imus on the payroll to avoid having him move to a new company, or medium. In my opinion this seems likely.

4/12/2007 10:22:00 PM

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