Saturday, December 28, 2019

The passing of Don Imus

As a former radio deejay, I have been keenly aware of the  long, storied, often controversial career of Don Imus. He spent 50 years on the air which in and of itself is unheard of. He said something once that stuck with me. It had to do with the idea of mentally editing what you are going to say on the air before you open the microphone. A sort of "mental rehearsal." Know what you're going to say. Get to the point. I tried to do that throughout my career. Good advice.

He was fired 4 times. There's an old saying in radio, "If you haven't been fired a time or two, you ain't doing it right."He got fired from a station once out in Stockton, California not far from me because he said the word "hell" on the air.  Can you imagine? That was at the very start of his career before he hit the bigtime in New York. My Dad enjoyed Imus because toward the end of his career he got into frequent political chit chat on his show and would often have well known political figures in the studio. Senator Bob Dole comes to mind. My Dad loved to read about and talk politics. Things often got heated at our house.

Imus could be grouchy, mean, angry, and often funny on his show, but through it all, he was always himself.  Listeners knew what to expect when they tuned in.  At the height of his career, he was making around 4 million dollars a year. He became a very rich man, but he gave back with his charity work and "Imus Ranch" for children in need. Just recently, I saw him being interviewed on CBS Sunday morning with Jane Pauley and he became quite emotional as he mentioned he had regrets about  some things he said or did on air that were hurtful to others. Teary eyed, it was a very rare moment indeed where he showed a side of himself others had never seen.  It was like he was reviewing his life and he looked rather frail. He was without a doubt one of a kind and there will never be another Don Imus.

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