He was an iconic radio DJ who successfully took his format to cable television, only to see it all fall apart because of his uncontrollable habit of saying the wrong thing in the most outrageous way.
Don Imus tested the boundaries of shock radio, and then television, over five decades from a New York radio studio.
Imus spared no one – celebrities, politicians, racial and ethnic groups, women, gay people.
Some called him irreverent.
Others used words like “racist,” “sexist,” and “homophobe.”
His high-profile career effectively ended in 2007 when on his WFAN radio show which was simulcast by MSNBC (and was, if memory serves, MSNBC’s highest-rated program at the time) he and his executive producer, Bernard McGuirk had a bantering on-air conversation about whether the players on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team were best described as “rough girls,” “hard-core hoes” or “nappy-headed hoes.”
CBS fired him and MSNBC immediately followed suit – and eventually afflicted the cable news universe with “Morning Joe.”
Imus sued and won a wrongful termination suit with CBS and turned up on WABC radio in NYC.
He eventually got back on television, with yet another simulcast, on Fox Business, which never came close to his high-profile years on MSNBC.
He retired in March of 2018.
Here is a piece that “CBS Sunday Morning” did on the occasion of his retirement.
Don Imus died Friday at the age of 79.
He’d been hospitalized in College Station, TX since Christmas Eve
While the official cause of death has yet to be released, ten years ago, Imus revealed he had prostate cancer and was treating it holistically.