Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Imus’ Return and Mea Culpa

On Friday I told you about my thoughts on the Great Don Imus’ return to radio. Well I’ve now heard the show (you can too at http://www.imusonair.com) and there were some good, some bad, and some that I don’t know what to think about.

The best part of the entire show was hearing the I-man’s voice again along with Charles McCord, “Fat” Rob Bartlet and the rest, not to mention the crowd enthusiastically cheering them on (it was held in Manhattan in front of a large live audience). It was also great to hear some of the familiar guests including Senator and Presidential Candidates John McCain and Chris Dodd, Presidential Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (who on a personal note, is a sweet woman and of the speakers who I’ve enjoyed meeting on several occasions now), and even political strategists Mary Matlin and James Carvel.

On the downside was the conspicuous absence of any sound coming from Producer Bernard McGirk’s microphone. He was there at the studio location, his bald head gleaming under the lights. He just was so much quieter then usual. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that the show in it’s current “incarnation” is still new with 2 new cast members (both black…hummm…might we be pandering to our critics??) and he wanted to let all the new voices be heard. Or it may be attributed to his “enabling” of Imus’ throughout the years including the now infamous comments about the Rutgers team in April. McGuirk was the one who called them “rough looking hos” when Imus took that and added “nappy-headed” and got himself in hot water.

On to those things that I’m not so sure about. The new “theme song” is chief among my concerns. The old simple “Imus in the morning ” was a staple on my radio from the time I was 11 or 12 years old (some 19 years). The new jingle isn’t much different, “Imus. Imus in the Morning”, but is clearly not the same and it will take some time to get used to. Hopefully they’ll bring the duck back. I won my (very rare) Imus in the Morning ceramic Bobble head almost 20 years ago when I called in to the show to report that the duck hadn’t quacked. Truth be told I don’t remember how the duck got involved in the show. Anybody out there know about it?

Five minutes into the show he delivered his official mea culpa, sitting alone on the front of the stage on a stool with his microphone on a stand. He told the story of the night he was fired from CBS radio on his way to see the Rutgers team to apologize. It seemed genuine and contrite but he kept hammering home the fact that he realize what he did and it was “reprehensible” and his punishment was just. But the best part was at the end when he assured his audience that the content of the show wouldn’t change. “Dick Chaney is still a war criminal. Hillary Clinton is still Satan and I’m still Imus in the Morning!

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