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Imus Debuts on WABC-AM December 3, 2007

Listeners Assured Nothing Has Changed

With his usually tongue-in-cheek and angry edge, Don Imus assured listeners that nothing about his new show on WABC-AM in New York City will be different. He added that “Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, Hillary Clinton is still Satan and I am back on the radio!” to the cheers and applause of a sold-out audience who paid $100 each to attend the maiden broadcast live at NYC’s Town Hall.

Imus also quipped that he signed a five-year contract with Citadel Broadcasting because “it is going to take me five years alone to get even with everybody.”

The Imus program was syndicated to a number of other stations around the country and more, including other Citadel stations, are likely to sign up. The program was also simulcast on cable by RFD-TV, owned by Rural Media Group, Inc, that reaches almost 30 million homes. RFD-TV hopes Imus will get their subscriber base up to 50 million homes in the next two years.

Imus seemed genuinely contrite about the events that led to his termination. He recounted his meeting with the Rutgers’ team for the first time and made his first public comments about his removal from the airwaves on April 12 by CBS Radio. While his comments are unlikely to appease his critics, Imus seemed far more concerned with offering another apology and making his case to his loyal fans. He also added that the whole mess was his own fault. When talking about his anger and frustration over the last eight months, he said, “I would remind myself that if I hadn’t said what I said, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”


Imus also acknowledged his fellow radio personalties who supported him through the events before and after his dismissal. He thanked Opie and Anthony, Mike Francesa, Sean Hannity and Cutis Sliwa (who Imus replaced on WABC). Imus was grateful that WABC found a way to keep Sliwa on the station.

Another interesting Imus comment was that he would want Al Sharpton with him in a foxhole because “at least I would sure of who I was getting.” Personally, I disagree with Imus and I would only want Sharpton there because he would be a perfect human shield.

Guests on the Imus program included Presidential candidates John McCain (R) and Chris Dodd (D), Doris Kearns Goodwin, James Carville and Mary Matalin. Music was provided by the legendary Levon Helm.

Imus’ new conditions allow him to have old friends Charles McCord and Bernard McGuirk along with him. However, Citadel is using a 21-second broadcast delay that will allow them to censor any material that might be considered offensive. It has also been widely reported that Bernard will remain behind the scenes and will not be miked.

The broadcast delay is likely a ploy by WABC and Citadel to protect Imus and thwart the efforts of Clinton forces to attack Imus again. The broadcast delay essentially makes the Clinton-based Media Matters for America and weasels like Ryan Chiachiere impotent in its mission to silence Hillary critics.

As Clinton begins to slide down in the polls, the usual fate of early front-runners in Presidential elections, the impact of Imus’ return is likely to create deep concerns in the Clinton camp.

In news reports last night, Imus’ long time rival Howard Stern couldn’t resist the opportunity to throw in his usual ridiculous comments. He said that Imus was over and done with, and predicted that the initial novelty of his return will wear out in less than two weeks.

Stern is not the only Imus critic who is displeased by his return. Unfortunately, many people are uninformed, simple-minded lemmings who are easily swayed by misinformation in the press. The issue with Imus’ return is one of consistency and fair play. You do not have to agree with Imus, nor do you have to excuse his reprehensible comments. However, we all need to be wary when special interest groups like Clinton’s campaign staff, Media Matters for America, the National Organization of Women and others attempt to violate anybody’s First Amendment rights.

If you don’t like Don Imus, quit whining and go find another radio station. Before you condemn him, listen to the program and try to understand the man’s style and wit. If you don’t get it or it is not your cup of tea, move on.

If you like Imus, enjoy the show. Hillary … LOOK OUT!

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