The “I-Man” Returns December 3: What Does the “S-Man” Have to Say?

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Don Imus returns to the air on December 3 at New York’s WABC-AM (770). Citadel Broadcasting signed the deal yesterday (Nov. 1). The show will be syndicated on ABC Radio.

Questions not answered at this time (11/02, 7:30 am EST):

1. Will long-time producer Bernard McGuirk be on his team?
2. Will Al Sharpton howl in protest about the I-Man’s return? His comments are tepid at this point.
3. Will advertisers shy away to avoid controversy?
4. Will Imus’ stable of regular guests, especially politicians, distance themselves from Imus?
5. Will Citadel try to control the content of the show?

It remains to be seen.
Only time will tell.

No lame journalism “hanging summary” phrases here. How about actual analysis? OK, here goes….

1. My guess is that Bernard will be back, despite the fact that he triggered the controversy that caused the show to get canned. He keeps the fires fueled with his comments and gives the others something to play off.

2. No doubt that Reverend Al will throw himself into this fray. He invested his time heavily in this back in April, so he almost has to do this to save face and keep himself in the media spotlight.

3. Advertisers who used to buy time on the show will definitely not be back, possibly because I think Sharpton and other black leaders will call for a boycott.

4. I think some of the politicians will not appear because of “guilt by association.” Particularly the liberals who need the minority vote.

5. You bet Citadel will be monitoring him with a long delay switch. His show has been criticized for being lame. Now it will get lamer.

Closing comment: I’m not sure this is a wise decision for Citadel. They’re putting a lot of money into a show hosted by a guy who has limted appeal. His ratings are less than stellar outside the Northeast, where he appeals to the snobby “intelligensia.” He also skews to the older auience, probably because he’s a fossil himself! CBS/Infinity/Westwood One/MSNBC, his former distributors, could justify this because for some reason he brought in the advertisers. Now that’s not even a given because of the Rutgers women’s basketball controversy.

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