Wednesday, January 30, 2008

RFD Signs Deal With Comcast

"Viewers in Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, among other big cities, moved a step closer on Wednesday to being able to see a simulcast of Don Imus’s morning radio show on television.

"Patrick Gottsch, the founder and president of RFD-TV, a cable channel that carries Mr. Imus’s show but primarily chronicles life in rural America, said on Wednesday morning that he had signed an affiliation agreement with Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator. That means RFD-TV is now authorized to begin negotiations to be carried on individual Comcast cable systems, including those in Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver and Nashville."

Continue reading...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I-Guests In The News

- Bob Schieffer will retire from Face the Nation after the Presidential inauguration. Fortunately, it appears he will do a "Brokaw-style" retirement and still come back for special occasions and such.

-"If you had Rudy Giuliani and 16 percent, YOU LOST!"

- And, of course, McCain wins Florida.

Another Question

Unless you live under a rock, you've heard about the recent endorsement of Barack Obama by Teddy Kennedy. This is the first time that Teddy Kennedy has been relevant in, like, 20 years.

This leads me to ask the following question. Let's say that you ran a comedy show, and one day, out of nowhere, you decided to randomly fire a talented cast member who has been loyal to you for the past 35 years. Then why would you fire the one guy who does Ted Kennedy?

We really have to wonder why Imus would throw Larry Kenney under the bus after 35 years. I certainly can't explain it, unless Imus is on the drugs again.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Little Something For The Ladies


Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and I thought it appropriate to give some advice to my fellow women. Pay close attention, ladies, because this is important.


Now I'm not trying to scare you. But on February 14th, there is a significant chance that your sweetie will surprise you with that gift so closely tied to hatred. Flowers.


Like I said, ladies, I don't want to frighten you. But there's always the chance, and so you must be prepared. If he dares to hand you a beautiful bouquet of long-stemmed roses, you must immediately throw them on the floor, stomp on them, and shriek that A) you can't believe he's showing you a symbol of scorn on Valentine's Day, and B) the only thing that could prove his love is an expensive necklace.

See, before I listened to the Imus program this week and heard about the romantic travails of Bob the substitute sportscaster, I had always believed that when a man gives a woman flowers, it meant, "I love you." Or maybe, "Cheer up." Or even, "I am sorry that you are stuck in the hospital with an emergency appendectomy." In this week's case it simply meant, "I'm sorry."


I never would have dreamed, however, that a gift of flowers meant "You are the most hideous being on the planet and I hate you with the fire of a thousand suns."


This is one of the reasons why I like the Imus program - I learn things. Before last week, I thought that flowers were a sweet romantic gesture. Now, as I reminisce on the times when I've received this cultural abomination, I weep with bitter sadness. Because I realize that those beautiful bouquets were actually the emotional equivalent of a Molotov cocktail.


Just remember, ladies: Be Prepared.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

...And They're Doing This A Year Later?

Look what just came off of Reuters:

Advertiser sues Don Imus for unscripted comments
Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:57pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A book publisher that bought an ad on Don Imus's radio show is suing the shock jock and his former bosses at CBS Radio for more than $4 million, saying Imus insulted the book he was paid to promote.

It was the latest controversy to follow the radio personality, who was fired by CBS Radio in April 2007 for insulting a women's basketball team with a racial slur. He has since returned to the air with another network.

Flatsigned Press said in a New York state court lawsuit filed late on Wednesday that Imus's show had agreed to a script for the 30-second spot in January 2007 to promote a book by former President Gerald Ford on the investigation into the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Imus laughed as he read the script, calling it "cheesy," the lawsuit said.

"These bastards have been waiting for him to croak so they can unload" the books, Imus said on the air, according to the lawsuit.

Ford served on the Warren Commission that conducted the official inquiry and his book "John F. Kennedy: Assassination Report of the Warren Commission" was published shortly after Ford died in December 2006.

"Imus unilaterally changed the language of the live read, which was completely contrary the agreement agreed upon by the parties," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also names Infinity Broadcasting Corp., which is a division of Viacom Inc., Sports Radio 66-WFAN and CBS Radio. CBS was part of Viacom until the two firms split in 2006.
"Imus in the Morning" was produced and broadcast by the CBS-owned WFAN radio station in New York and syndicated on some 60 stations nationally. The program also was simulcast on cable television's MSNBC, but MSNBC did not air the ad and was not sued.

Representatives for CBS and Imus were not immediately available for comment.

In December, Imus returned to radio with a nationally syndicated show broadcast out of WABC in New York in a deal with ABC Radio Networks, which is owned by Citadel Broadcasting Corp.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bob Ross Has Issues


Remember Bob Ross? He was the popular artist who painted landscape portraits on his Saturday afternoon PBS show. He was known for his gentle manner, his catchphrases for objects in his paintings ("happy little trees"), and his brilliant portraits that were created in thirty minutes.

A few years ago, Rob Bartlett parodied Mr. Ross during his Emmy-winning "Rob Bartlett's Not For Profit TV Special" program. And let's just say that Bartlett's Mr. Ross is slightly more deranged. Also, judging by the fact that this clip has almost 400,000 hits on Youtube, I'd say that he's also slightly funnier.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

An Ode To An Oft-Underappreciated Cast Member of 'Imus in the Morning'

I can take care of myself.

I can make a peanut butter sandwich.

I can brush my teeth, and I can give myself a bath.

I can walk home alone from school.

I can pick dinner from the trash behind the deli.

I can watch the baby for the whole weekend.

I can keep a baseball bat by my bed just in case there's trouble.

Don't worry about me - I can take care of myself.

**********************************************************

(If you have no idea what this is about, click here. You'll experience the joys of the imusonair.com live stream, which I've stopped listening to for obvious reasons.)

(Also: you know those other PSAs that claim that if a parent screams at people, their kids will be raised like wolves? Let's just say that if this is true, I should've been put in foster care.)

Phony Outrage Strikes Again

The PC Police have set their sights on a WABC personality - and this time, it isn't Imus.

This time it's Bob Grant, who hosts the evening 8-10 slot on WABC. He's known as a radio legend. He has an extremely loyal following, has been in the broadcast business for sixty years, and has won countless awards. In fact, last March he was nominated to receive a Lifetime Industry Achievement Award from the industry magazine Radio and Records.

Well, yesterday Radio and Records rescinded their Lifetime Achievement Award. Why, you ask? Take a guess:

Upon further review and consideration of Bob Grant's complete body of work, Radio & Records has withdrawn its decision to present the 2008 News/Talk/Sports Lifetime Industry Achievement Award to Mr. Grant. R&R is sensitive to the diversity of our community and does not want the presentation of an award to Mr. Grant to imply our endorsement of past comments by him that contradict our values and the respect we have for all members of our community.

Well.

Never mind that the guy is a pioneer. Never mind that he's influenced countless broadcasters with his decades of experience.

Grant has a history of being a curmudgeon on the radio, and was actually fired from WABC in 1996 for "racist" comments. He had received word of an airplane crash in Croatia that was carrying several American dignitaries, including African-American Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Grant had said that he had " a hunch" that Ron Brown had survived. Why? "Maybe it's because, at heart, I'm a pessimist."

See, maybe I'm wrong here, but I don't think that he was being racist there; I think he was just being a tool.

At any rate, Mr. Grant has been monitored for years by various Media Matters-esque groups, and there are a few hit lists of "racist remarks" by him out there. Search for them if you'd like. They could very well be accurate, but I have to say that I really don't trust things like that after my experience last April.

And it gets worse. Bob Grant was contacted about the decision, and let's just say that he has some theories:

Mr. Grant said he found it ironic that the Rev. Al Sharpton is scheduled to speak at the R&R Talk Radio Seminar, where he would have received his award.

"I think it says more than I could possibly say," he said.

From the same article:

Phil Boyce, the WABC program director who fired and later rehired Mr. Grant, said he was "shocked and hugely disappointed" by the decision to rescind the award.

"R&R has egg on their face. At the same convention where they are banning Bob Grant, Al Sharpton gets to come and lecture program directors like me about what is good and just and fair on the radio," he said. "Yeah, there are some things that Bob said years ago he shouldn't have said. He paid the price, and that's 10 years ago."


By the way, I have never listened to Bob Grant. Any perspective from his fans?

So far, fellow WABC employees Mark Levin and Sean Hannity have defended Grant. I wonder if this will be discussed on tomorrow's Imus program. Could this be a chance for us to have that "discussion on race" that we've been procrastinating on since December?

Incidentally, if you want to contact Radio and Records and call them the cowards that they are, go to www.radioandrecords.com.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Minor Correction

It was announced this morning that Imus made the coveted Cracked magazine list of the Top 25 Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians. (Incidentally, Cracked plagiarized this article from this blog.)


Cracked describes him as "the Disc jockey and humorist whose comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team in 2007 led to the name "Imus" being mentioned on a college campus for the first time in 35 years."


A minor correction: I started listening to Imus about a year before he got fired, and I told a few of my friends about him shortly afterwards. And I've always lived on-campus...so, therefore, Imus hadn't been mentioned on a college campus in thirty-four years. I hope that Cracked prints a retraction.


In closing, here's a picture from the aforementioned Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians blog of a man who should have been #1 on the list:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sacred Cows

This morning's Washington Times contains a special ode to RFD-TV, written by Ken Tomlinson, former editor of Reader's Digest and hardcore Imus fan.

"So how did this hopeless news junkie spend the mid-morning after the stunning news from the Iowa presidential caucuses?" he asks. "Watching recreational tractor driving in Nebraska — on RFD TV. I mean watching geezers riding vintage 1940s John Deeres while touting the joys of tractor riding and the beauty of the Nebraska countryside made possible because the tractor caravans top out at 13 miles per hour."

How did Mr. Tomlinson become such a convert? Well, he's been an Imus fan for 20 years, and he discovered the channel when Imus returned. He's like a lot of city people - as well as people interested in current events - who have since become addicted to the rural programming.

"I never really understood how irritating are the news bunnies of Fox and MSNBC," he adds, "until I experienced the soothing rhythm of three consecutive hours of cattle auctions from Nebraska and Texas and Arkansas." (There is no mention of the "Recto Rocket," alas, but I suppose they don't want to scare off the Beltway people. Or to give Bob Packwood any ideas.)

Finally, Mr. Tomlinson poignantly describes why he and many others discovered the channel:

"Then came Bernie and Mr. Imus and the young women on the Rutgers basketball team — and what followed was a fate arguably worse than death: Morning Joe and Mika Brzezinski in the Imus slot on MSNBC."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Things I've Learned From Imus In The Morning, #603 and 4

1) If you are arguing with a friend about the awesomeness of a weapon - specifically, a scary Taser gun which is purported to be the latest in "electro-stun technology"- then try to persuade your friend by screaming nonsense at the top of your lungs. If that does not work, carelessly play with said weapon and come close to mortally wounding his coworkers.

2) The function of the "Recto Rocket," and the fact that such a thing actually exists. Dude. I would Google it, but I'm too afraid.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Ratings

From radioandrecords.com:

"Citadel Broadcasting VP of news/talk programming Phil Boyce tells Radio & Records that the latest New York PPM data showed that the first eight days of Don Imus' new morning show on WABC/New York got great results.

"According to Boyce, Imus scored a 6.2 share 12+ which, he says, 'is a gain of about 20% from Curtis and Kuby's last month together.' He also shares that in 25-54 Imus notched a 3.5 share, nearly 30% higher than Curtis and Kuby. Boyce says the station overall added 200,000 cume in December breaking the 1.4 million mark."

Huh?

What's this I'm hearing about Tim Russert coming on the show?


I believe that Mike and the Mad Dog said it best, quoted here:

Russo anointed Russert "No. 1" on the (weasel) list. He referred to the host of "Meet the Press" as the "biggest phony. And if I ever hear one more thing about that dopey old man of his ... I'm not interested in Big Jake or whatever his name is."

Francesa: "Leave (Russert's father) alone. It's not his fault his kid doesn't have any guts."

I was excited about the new incarnation of the Imus show. A lot of people in the media claimed that he would never get back some of his old guests, but I didn't care. I saw this as an opportunity to scout out young, undiscovered talent, and henceforth introduce us to a new generation of reporters. At the same time, we could still hear all of the supporters from last April - and even a few of the fence-sitters.

I think eeryone was shocked last April by the behavior of Tim Russert. I remember a long time ago - around Father's Day 2006 - when he was on the show talking about the life lessons his father taught him. He told some gut-wrenching, tearjerker stories from the book about people whose fathers had sacrificed for them.


Now I had liked Russert before I became an Imus fan, and this interview made me like him even more. Here was a man, I thought, who manages to stay in the public, yet managed to be a genuine person. How rare is that?

When the events of April went down, I remember thinking to myself, Holy s***, I was fooled. All this time, I was fooled. Judging by other Imus fans' reactions, I wasn't the only one who felt this way.


And here’s what gets me the most. The reason why he’s such a weasel to me? The fact that he wrote this wonderful book…about fatherhood. It would be different if the book covered politics or Millard Fillmore or witty anecdotes about pets. But fatherhood? (Kind of like the way I can’t stand Jon Meacham, the go-to “Jesus died on the cross for our sins” political guest who was the very first person to get thirty sheckels from Al Sharpton.)

Do you remember back in May, when Russert appeared on the program, and Charles walked out on him on the air? Now THAT'S showing some cojones, not to mention true loyalty. Even though that didn't technically happen on Imus in the Morning (at that point it was called MSNBC Morning Live, or something like that), I firmly believe that moment should be considered among the "Best of" in the history of the show.

And now I hear that he's going to be a guest on the program tomorrow.

Why? Is it because "some people change?"

Perhaps it is. And if he comes on and is treated like a king, I know that some people, including myself, will also change. The channel.