Radio Waves: 2/23/18

Imus Stepping Down

Talk personality and semi shock-jock Don Imus — whose nationally syndicated program Imus in the Morning was once heard locally at various times on such stations as KLAC (570 AM), the original KRLA (now KRDC, 1110 AM), and KABC (790 AM) announced recently that he would retire from radio next month; his last show will air on March 29th. 

Not by choice, mind you. Due in part to the financial problems at Cumulus and declining ratings for the program, Cumulus asked to end his contract early rather than letting it run through December 2018.

Imus was a huge for a time in the late 1990s and early 2000s as his program grew in popularity. He was heard locally on WNBC from 1971 to 1977; he was fired from the station in 1977 as the station tried to go in a new direction. Two years later he was rehired and stayed there through the station’s switch from top-40 to sports-talk as WFAN. The program is currently based at WABC/New York.

Syndication began in 1993 and he was even on MSNBC cable television for a time. In Los Angeles, however, his syndicated program was only marginally successful, leading to the change in stations and the eventual dropping of the program. According to the KCAA/Inland Empire website, Imus can be heard Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. KCAA is the closest affiliate to Los Angeles.

His show became more political when it became syndicated; his early days were focussed more on stunts and gags, such as when he once tried to order 1200 hamburgers form a local New Your restaurant. I once heard an imitation he did of local Los Angeles legend Robert W. Morgan that was spot on.

Will he actually retire? I’m betting no. At 77 he certainly can, but my hunch is he will find a local station somewhere and stay with radio a few more years.

Age Discrimination

While Imus has certainly had his problems over the years including being removed from the air when he called the Rutgers University women’s basketball players “nappy headed hos,” this time he’s being taken to court. 

Warner Wolf, who was the sports guy at WABC until 2016, is suing Imus and three executives of Cumulus for age discrimination. Wolf, currently three years older than Imus at 80, claims he was replaced by someone 30 years younger and was the subject of negative comments regarding his age on Imus’ show. He is seeking severance pay of about $96,000 plus damages.

Short Takes

KDAY (103.5 FM) personality Cece moves up the dial to sister station Power 106, to work mornings with J. Cruz. Crystal Bee, formerly with the morning show, moves to mid-days.

Fans of The Morning After with Skippy and Drew love the KFRR/Fresno morning show so much that they set up a GoFundMe page to buy a billboard promoting the program. Listeners then votes for the best billboard, which was scheduled to be unveiled on February 23rd.

Mimi Chen noted on Facebook last weekend that this is the Chinese Year of the Dog, so she asked listeners for good songs about dogs. I suggested “Shannon,” the song by Henry Gross about the dog that drifts out to sea. “Maybe she’s find an island with a shady tree, just like the one in our back yard,” the lyrics say. For those too young: yes, that was a hit. A big hit.

Why can (seemingly) I hear more songs I like on SiriusXM’s Hits One channel than I can on KIIS-FM (102.7 FM)? Is it actually the music or the comparative lack of clutter that makes Hits One sound better?