Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

It's sort of a badly-kept secret that Chuck McCord writes the comedy bits featuring Larry Kenney. Together, the two men have created many memorable, witty characters - Jerry Falwell and General Patton come to mind.

Larry Kenney has had a colorful career outside of "Imus In The Morning" - he's done scores of voices and participated in many projects over the years. (This Wikipedia entry should give you an idea.) He provided the voice for Lion-O of the "Thundercats," and he's the announcer for the "Best Week Ever" series on VH1. He's also done the voices of Count Chocula and Sonny the Coco Puffs Bird - two staples of my after-school cartoons as a kid. (It's too bad that he never voiced the Cocoa Pebbles commercials - because then Mr. Kenney would hold complete world domination over chocolate cereal.)

We don't know where Don Imus will be when he comes back to radio, but I certainly hope that Larry Kenney will be right there with him.

In the meantime, I found this old "Best Of Kenney" montage in a remote, dusty corner of the Internet. (Well, OK, I found it on northeastairchecks.com.) It's from the old WNBC days in 1982, and it's hysterical.

(In my opinion, the funniest one is the "Reach Out And Crush Someone" bit. Seriously, that thing is demented as hell.)

Best of Larry Kenney on "Imus In The Morning" - 1982

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

WFAN Fails the First Grade


So the folks at WFAN finally looked around and realized that, hey, our new morning personalities, "Boomer and Carton,” are debuting in less than a week! But we still haven’t put up their bios on the website! Nor anything else to even remotely suggest that they will be replacing Imus! (Other than an initial press release!)

But they finally put up the bios of Craig Carton and Boomer Esaison, on the big WFAN Personalities page. And, of course, there are already problems.

The various personalities are listed in alphabetical order. At one point, the bios go thusly:


  • Tracy Burgess

  • Craig Carton

  • Tim Capstraw

  • Chris Carlin

  • Chris Carrino

  • Ed Coleman

Maybe it’s because I’ve had to proofread my friends' papers for years…but I already know they don’t care about Craig Carton, because they didn’t properly put his name in alphabetical order. Carton should go between “Carrino” and “Coleman,” not “Burgess” and “Capstraw.”

But at least we know they care about Boomer Esaison - he’s placed nicely between “Ian Eagle” and “Mike Francesa.”

(Oh, and for the record, “Adrienne Watson” is listed before “Joey Wahler.” Did Don Imus take all the proofreaders with him?)

EDIT: As of this afternoon, 8/29/07, WFAN has corrected the alphabet mistakes. Good job outta them.

Breaking: Imus Responsible For Global Warming

John MacKinnon, a writer for Canada’s Edmonton Journal, has been angsting over what he believes to have been a terrible summer for sports:

A week away from the ceremonial end of what we'll derisively call the
"Summer" of 2007, any objections to calling it a wrap right now?

Didn't think so. Enough, already.

You're tempted to dub it the Summer of Discontent in sports, but that
doesn't quite capture it. Not by a longshot.

This is the summer that gave us radio shockjock Don Imus and the unsavory
comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team that got him fired
- and sued.


Here are several dates to keep in mind for Mr. MacKinnon:

First Day of Spring (Vernal Equinox): March 21
Imus Utters Infamous Comments: April 4
Imus Fired For Said Comments: April 11-12
First Day Of Summer (Summer Solstice): June 21

So Imus helped destroy the entire summer sports season, even though he uttered those comments a full two and a half months before summer actually started. Nice.

How did this happen? Well, if we are to believe the media’s tales about Imus circa April, we could assume that the I-Man has evil powers to shape-shift the seasons and destroy the environment with a simple flick of the wrist. He’s just an upgraded Captain Planet villian.

Personally, though, I think that most Canadians secretly have no idea what season it is. Is it really summer if the high is 45? Is it really spring if there are five feet of snow outside your doorstep? So I’ll take the benefit of the doubt and assume that the poor guy is simply confused.

Oh, Canada…

Monday, August 27, 2007

He's Saying That They're #1 In The Nation

At first, I wanted to post these articles because they were hysterical. Now, I’m posting them because they provide such a sharp contrast to what we’ve seen in the past four months.

The following took place almost eight years ago, but judging by the networks’ attitudes, it seems like it‘s been much longer than that:

IMUS ENGINEER FLIPS THE BIRD
New York Daily News
October 21, 1999

A childish stunt pulled by the engineer of Don Imus' WFAN radio show resulted in MSNBC yesterday apologizing for potentially offending viewers.

It was not a pretty sight.

Show engineer Lou Rufino yesterday gave viewers of MSNBC's "Imus in The Morning" simulcast the middle finger as the show was going to a commercial.

The scruffy Rufino, who is often seen as the cameras pan the control room during commercial cutaways, mimicked a school-yard prank, in which he faked scratching his face as a way of flipping the proverbial bird.

"Televising 'Imus in the Morning' is like covering a sporting event, it's live, it's spontaneous and anything can happen," said an MSNBC spokesman. "We apologize if anyone was offended."

While gritty prime-time shows such as ABC's "NYPD Blue," which airs at 10 p.m., have used the middle finger to convey a specific message, the gesture is not a regular part of Imus' sometimes raucous morning radio show.

Moreover, Rufino's display appeared calculated, and occurred as MSNBC's remote cameras panned his off-stage area.

When Imus and his on-air compadres returned from the commercial break, no mention was made of the offense.

And, said the spokesman, no one called MSNBC to complain about Rufino's actions.



'IMUS' LETS THE FINGER DO THE TALKING
New York Daily News
October 22, 1999


A day after an MSNBC spokesman apologized for viewers being given the middle finger by a staffer on the "Imus in the Morning Show," the radio pranksters were at it again.

As reported yesterday, show engineer Lou Rufino displayed his middle finger during Wednesday's telecast, forcing MSNBC to apologize.

But yesterday, seeing potential humor in the flap, host Don Imus repeatedly reran the tape of Rufino's finger-flashing. Imus himself also offered frequent doses of the middle finger.

"This is what giving the finger is," Imus said, visibly offering his own interpretation of the act.

Imus put his finger on the issue early in his drive-time show. Rufino denied he gave viewers the finger, saying he had really only been scratching his face.

But Imus' tune changed after the tape was replayed.

"You little, lying weasel," Imus told Rufino. "You little, dirty, lying maggot."

Asked yesterday if MSNBC condoned Imus & Co.'s antics, an MSNBC representative, clearly afraid of upsetting the I-Man, responded with praise for the radio host. The network airs the show on a delay, though it did not use it yesterday.

" 'Imus in the Morning' has millions of loyal adult viewers and listeners that expect the unexpected, appreciate the show's brand of humor, and respect Imus' in-depth newsmaker interviews," the representative said.

Double-you-AAAAAAA-B-C!!!!


Before we get into the details of the New York Post article, I must profess my love for the above graphic that accompanied said piece. Imus looks worried, pensive, perhaps because the severed heads of radio execs are floating in front of him. "I guess I could revive my career with ABC," Imus ponders. "But would I really want these floating, decapitated visages with bored expressions to haunt my working hours, and perhaps eventually my nightmares?"

So get this - WABC in New York really likes Imus! They really, really like him! So much so that they've seriously considered hiring him for months now! And there's an article in the August 27 New York Post that pretty much confirms that they're after him!

Now, these Imus-to-WABC rumors have been around for, oh, forever. But this article strongly hints that WABC will most definitely be his future home. It focuses around a man named Farid Suleman, the CEO of Citadel Communications, who apparently wants to hire Imus. While I don't want to jump to any conclusions before we hear an official announcement, I must say that this looks very promising...

From Snagging Imus, by Peter Lauria (NYP):

As soft-spoken as the 54-year-old Tanzanian native is, sources said Suleman doesn't lack for ego and isn't afraid of taking chances, two traits that will be necessary to endure the scrutiny if he succeeds in landing Imus.

"Farid will not only absorb, but also enjoy and bask in the attention that comes with hiring Imus," said Radio-Info.com news editor Tom Taylor. "He'll like the dialogue the hiring sparks."

In an interview with The Post, Suleman said only that he thinks Imus' availability represents an opportunity and that he would consider hiring him only if he could make the numbers work.

Such modesty belies the "can't lose" proposition that bringing Imus back is for Suleman. If the shock jock flames out in his return, Suleman can point to Imus' comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team as having tarnished him forever. If the public embraces Imus' second act, Suleman will earn kudos for giving him another chance.

Suleman, who has never had a formal employment contract, dismissed the publicity that would come with an Imus hiring as a fleeting distraction that matters little to the bottom line.

"There will be a little publicity for a couple of days, but after that all that will matter is if I made money for my shareholders," Suleman said.

Sources said that both Suleman and Imus would love to have a deal in place in time to make a big splash at the National Association of Broadcasters' Radio Show in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 26.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

On The Power Of Friendship

Not to be all mushy and overly sentimental...but after I read this article, my first instinct was to call my close friends and tell them how much they meant to me. I hope that this piece makes you feel the same way. For where would we be without our "shadows in the corner"?

A Deserted Don Imus Discovered That Friendship Was All Talk
by Fran Wood

Newark Star-Ledger
May 23, 2007

Charles McCord was conveniently away from his microphone at WFAN's Astoria studio last week when Tim Russert phoned in to chat with NBC chief White House correspondent David Gregory, who was hosting the foundering radio show formerly known as "Imus in the Morning."

Russert at one point said he wanted to tell McCord, Imus' 30- year sidekick, and Lou Rufino, Imus' engineer, that he missed them from the good old days when he was a regular Imus guest.

But he ended up telling it to an empty chair, and no regular Imus listener would have had any trouble figuring out why.

When Imus fell into a firestorm last month over his badly ill-advised "nappy-headed hos" remark, Russert was suddenly nowhere in sight. Yes, the same Russert whose "Big Russ and Me" book Imus did everything but sell from a pushcart on street corners.

Russert may not have thrown gasoline on the fire, but his silence made it clear he was not in Imus' corner. So he should hardly have been surprised when McCord returned the silence. As the old adage notes, you can't have it both ways.

Of course, Russert was not alone. You don't need much more than the fingers of one hand to count the morning show's frequent guests who didn't desert Imus. Howard Fineman came on the show. Evan Thomas, Jeff Greenfield, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain said they would continue to appear.

That leaves a whole lot of people who got a whole lot of career-boosting publicity from Imus either saying no or not returning calls.

Okay, Imus was on the air for only a week after his insult to the Rutgers women's basketball team, so there wasn't time to get a full roll call. Let's surmise that many guests would have been happy to return once they were convinced the heat had died down. But meanwhile, they opted for silence or condemnation.

Many of them clearly were not judging the issue but the potential impact an Imus appearance could have on their careers. It's not exactly a profiles-in-courage reaction, and it suggests the number of media people with lily livers is far greater than we might have imagined or they might have declared.

Yes, all this happened six weeks ago, which in modern media terms means it might as well have been concurrent with Hannibal's trip over the Alps. But it still appalls me that so many people who claimed to be Imus' friends cut and ran at the first hint of trouble.

Never mind that Imus was being the same Imus he's been for years. The same Imus who infuriated the president of the United States by joking about his sex life in front of his wife and most of official Washington.

Had Imus made a calculated attempt to belittle and degrade the Rutgers players or had this foolish remark seemed to show some suddenly deep streak of racism or cruelty, there would have been justification for deserting him. But all these people knew who and what Imus was. They know that's his style, and by appearing with him for years, they'd given every signal they were okay with it.

Hey, what are friends for?

Not for much of anything, apparently.

If Imus eventually returns to radio, one imagines it will be to a different kind of show. Not only will there be a much greater area with a "Keep away" sign around it, but how can he do what he did without those literate, intelligent guests - elected officials, political consultants, opinion writers for big newspapers and magazines, historians and such?

In fact, Russert would be one of the big losses. Russert, who sent gifts to Imus' son, Wyatt. Russert, who was warm and fuzzy every time he was on. Russert, who was so glib about politics. Russert, who suddenly couldn't find a single good word to say about Imus.

Imus, of course, has said nothing about any of this, and McCord has said only slightly more. McCord has become a shadow in the corner, stepping forward to do the news, then retreating to the corner. It's his job, and maybe he's contract-bound to it. Or maybe he just needs to be gainfully employed.

But McCord without Imus is like Tonto without the Lone Ranger. Unless Imus lands a new gig, McCord - arguably the more creative of the pair - is just another guy reading the news.

If Imus does take a new gig, happily, that on-air friendship won't miss a beat. It's a lot of the other friendships that were lost in the firestorm.

Nothing Could Get By 'Em, Turn It On And Try 'Em

Imus and Co. will not be returning to WFAN, and that makes me sad. Not just because of tradition's sake, and not just because a truly great station has lost one of its key sources of revenue. I'm also going to miss the daily slices of life that Imus would provide from the station - Joe Benigno said this yesterday, Steve Somers got the craziest caller last night. I've heard Imus fans claim that losing the Imus show as a wakeup buddy feels like losing a family member. Well, if losing the Imus crew is like losing a nuclear family member for you, then losing the 'FAN must feel like losing your aunts and uncles and cousins.

I'm especially going to miss Mike and the Mad Dog - that famous WFAN afternoon sports duo of Mike Francesa and Chris Russo - that has dominated New York sports talk radio for over fifteen years.

Believe it or not, their radio success almost never happened.

In an April 20th interview with Robin Finn of the New York Times, Francesa and Russo discussed how they were "a duo thrown together -- to their mutual horror -- in 1989 at the suggestion of Mr. Imus." Both of them wanted to host the afternoon show, but neither wanted to cohost together. At the time, Russo was the sports reporter for Imus in the Morning; Francesa worked the midday slot at WFAN. Although Francesa and Russo essentially hated each other during the first few years of Mike and the Mad Dog, they perservered, and the duo eventually became the #2-rated afternoon show in New York City.

The Finn article adds, ''Who taught them about timing and chemistry? Mr. Imus. Sigh." Sigh, indeed.

In honor of Frandog, here are two "unbelievable" videos that I found on the Youtubes. The first, a video that has gotten over 120,000 hits, is a rant that Russo did back in February on the troubles of Pacman Jones. Watch the first minute or so here.

But wait...what's this? Apparently a fan decided to parody Russo's rant, and also did a HYSTERICAL, pitch-perfect parody of Mad Dog. ( Watch it here.)If you watch any Youtube video this week, make sure it's this one.

Pure brilliance...on both vids. ("THROW 'EM OUT!!!") By the way, which is your favorite Mad Dog?

Friday, August 24, 2007

About Me

So I'm a little late to this Imus movement, am I not? Seems like most folks got these blogs started around mid-April or so. No matter. I intend to do this blog until at least Imus' first day back on the air. (Which could be...within a few months? Wow.)

Anywho, this blog will serve several purposes. Sometimes it will support Don Imus and his show, formerly the best show on television and radio. Sometimes it will showcase some interesting Imus articles from the past that illustrate the show and its history. (You wouldn't BELIEVE the stuff that I've been able to find about the show, thanks to my college's Lexis-Nexis and Newsbank archives. They're the equivalent of geeky old yearbook photos.) Sometimes this blog will discuss the proper role of satire and humor - a topic that I deeply care about. Sometimes, Heaven forbid...it will be fangirly.

And who am I? All you need to know about me is that I'm a female college senior, a girl who likes her satire sharp and her news topical. And that I want my favorite show back.
You should also know that I'm a nerd, so forgive me if I drop some obscure references, MST3K-style.

Anyway, I certainly hope to please you, my audience. ("Audience" defined as "five Imus fans who stumble upon this site, plus three of my college friends.") But take heed, dear reader: if I get any haters telling me that Don Imus likes to eat African-American babies under the light of a burning A.M.E. church, I have one phrase for you: Get off my phone.