Monday, April 09, 2007

Imus Suspended From Terrestrial Radio

April 9, 2007

Terrestrial radio talk show host Don Imus has a two week suspension on his hands for comments made on his show. Imus has many times stated his loyalty and respect for Sirius' Mel Karmazin, and the latest scandal has had some wondering if a move to satellite is in Imus' future. Likely, CBS Radio will hold onto Imus for the duration of his current contract, if for no other reason than to keep him off of the market from others.


CBS Radio, MSNBC say they will suspend Imus for two weeks after inappropriate comment

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
April 9, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- CBS Radio and MSNBC both said Monday they were suspending Don Imus' morning talk show for two weeks as a protest grew about his reference last week to members of the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."

The suspension begins next Monday.

MSNBC, which telecasts the radio show, said Imus' expressions of regret and embarrassment, coupled with his stated dedication to changing the show's discourse, made it believe suspension was the appropriate response.

"Our future relationship with Imus is contingent on his ability to live up to his word," the network said.

Imus, who has made a career of cranky insults in the morning, was fighting for his job following the joke that by his own admission went "way too far." He continued to apologize Monday, both on his show and on a syndicated radio program hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is among several black leaders demanding his ouster.

Imus could be in real danger if the outcry causes advertisers to shy away from him, said Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio. The National Organization for Women is also seeking Imus' ouster.

"Everyone is on tenterhooks waiting to see whether it grows and whether the protest gets picked up more broadly," Taylor said.

Imus isn't the most popular radio talk-show host -- the trade publication Talkers ranks him the 14th most influential -- but his audience is heavy on the political and media elite that advertisers pay a premium to reach. Authors, journalists and politicians are frequent guests -- and targets for insults.

He has urged critics to recognize that his show is a comedy that spreads insults broadly. Imus or his cast have called Colin Powell a "sniffling weasel," New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson a "fat sissy" and referred to Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, an American Indian, as "the guy from `F Troop."' He and his colleagues also called the New York Knicks a group of "chest-thumping pimps."

On Sharpton's program Monday, Imus said that "our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far."

Imus made his remark the day after the Rutgers team, which includes eight black women, lost the NCAA women's championship game to Tennessee. He was speaking with producer Bernard McGuirk and said "that's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos ..."

"Some hardcore hos," McGuirk said.

"That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus said.

The Rutgers comment has struck a chord, in part, because it was aimed at a group of young women at the pinnacle of athletic success. It also came in a different public atmosphere following the Michael Richards and Mel Gibson incidents, said Eric Deggans, columnist for the St. Petersburg Times and chairman of the media monitoring committee of the National Association of Black Journalists. The NABJ's governing board, which doesn't include Deggans, wants Imus canned.

"This may be the first time where he's done something like this in the YouTube era," Deggans said. Viewers can quickly see clips of Imus' remarks, not allowing him to redefine their context, he said.

On his show Monday, Imus called himself "a good person" who made a bad mistake.

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4/09/2007 09:13:00 PM

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