Saturday, November 22, 2008

News Hours, etc.

The "Imus in the Morning Newshour" is premiering at 5 AM on Monday; you should check it out; it will be awesome.

Speaking of which, today I want to talk about one of my favorite aspects of the program. It's not something that people discuss that often, but I'm hoping that maybe you like it too.

I love the Imus-McCord relationship. I don’t know why, but I do. I love it when the I-Man interrupts Jack Jacobs in the middle of an interview, just to tell him that Charles’ favorite word is “pusillanimous.” I love it when they share random inside jokes from 1978 that are understood by maybe four people on the planet.

I like it when they talk about their hourly phone calls. Sometimes on the air, Imus will tell a seven-minute long story that goes something like this: “Well, last night I called Charles. So we started watching C-SPAN together, and then I said, 'Do you want to watch Fox? Shepard Smith is on.' And then Charles said, ‘OK.’ And then I ate a pretzel.” And that’s the ENTIRE STORY. Yet I love that. It’s hilarious, and it’s kind of endearing.

Smetimes I'll talk to one of my best friends about the program, and one day, after I shared the above, she told me: "You know what? I hope that we have that relationship in 36 years." And so do I - minus the drugs, firings, marrying of siblings, etc.

Surely I'm not the only weird one who loves I?


Juan Morecow said...

You're not the only one who likes that aspect of the program. It's one of many things that sets it apart from just about all other programs.

On the air, Charles and Imus seem like such opposite personalities but they obviously like and respect each other.

I can't imagine working for/with anyone 5 days a week and then having to endure a phone conversation with them every evening for 30+ years.

Don't you wish it were the old days of party lines where you could listen in? And I wonder if during those after hours calls Charles ever berates Imus for something he did/said on air?

It can't be all, "Yes, Mr. Imus. Brilliant idea Mr. Imus. I'll get right on it, Mr. Imus" kind of talk because I don't think the I-man could/would put up with such kissing up all that time.

I'm exactly 6 days older than Charles (we were both born in October 1942). So I'm in the Imus-McCord generation growing up thru the same history, music, etc, etc.

As a kid I wanted to become a broadcaster. Never happened. I became a photographer instead. But my favorite broadcasters of all time are Arthur Godfrey, Johnny Carson and Don Imus. All three were major innovators in the business in their time.

Arthur Godfrey was one of the very first radio "annoucers" to ad lib commercials he was reading and to host a program that wasn't scripted to death. And the first to personally promote projects on the air that he found worthy. I remember him talking on the air in the 1950's about how important it was that Congress approve funding for the B-52 bomber. When it was approved the then head of the Strategic Air Command credited Godfrey with its success.

Johnny Carson made broadcasting history with his Tonight Show. He also had a 30 year relationship with his sidekick, Ed McMahon. And Johnny could help mold public opinion of someone/something simply by making a joke.

And now we have Imus. As Kinky Friedman once said of Don, "He has the best bullshit meter of any of them" when it comes to people.

Don doesn't take a back seat to anyone when it comes to promoting worthy projects. His own or others.

Bottom line: I think Don Imus is the best broadcaster of this era. His show is both interesting and entertaining. More honest than just about anything else on the air. And more real than any of those over-produced "reality" shows.

I don't like everything I hear on the program. I'm uncomfortable when he starts getting into personal areas with people on the show. And I don't care for every guest he has on. Mary Matlin, James Carville, Paul Begala and John Kerry get me reaching for the Off button faster than you can say, "Now please welcome to the I ...".

All-in-all the IITM program is the best thing on the air, IMHO. My only regret is that Larry Kenny isn't part of it anymore.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Juan. Your comments were very interesting. I, too, love the Imus/McCord relationship--they're a great pair--like Mike and the Mad Dog were. I miss Chris Russo every day, but because we're cutting expenses in our house, I won't be paying for satellite radio any more.

I'd like to know how much of the Imus show is scripted and when they write it. It seems completely natural and off-the-cuff.

Great comment from your friend, CG. So, now I'll have to drag myself up at five. Six is hard enough, but my favorite part of every Imus show is the first half-hour.


dee said...

CG, you're not the only one. I love to see a relationship that enduring, and that open and honest - especially when I've been along for the ride the whole time.

We're getting FIOS next week (after local cable ignored all my requests for RFD-TV), and I'm so excited about waking with our TV alarm to hear the first news of the day from Imus and McCord. I've had two LONG years of waking to the inane blathering of the cute airheads on our local news stations - I've tried them all and they all suck.

Mike said...

Wow Juan, awesome stuff.

The part of the friendship that I most appreciate were the weeks following the firing last year, when Mike and the Mad Dog were on in the morning to coach Charles through that obviously excruciating time for him.

And we all love when Charles takes about six months worth of frustration out on his BFF for about five golden minutes. I wonder if they plan that the night before?

I'm so excited to record the McCord news hour and listen to it on the subway tomorrow! I love that Charles is sorta getting his own big break.

Al said...

Charles does the News way better than Imus' buddy, Brian Williams...

Laree said...

New Post Here:

Juan Morecow said...

Here's another look at the Imus-McCord relationship.

Remember two years ago this time when EVERYBODY except the Imus's had been invited to the McCords for Thanksgiving? For weeks leading up to Thanksgiving it was THE running joke on the show.

It seemed that every guest was in on it, too. All of the Imus crew and all of the I-favs. Certainly everyone on the power rotation list back then ... Russert, Brokaw, Williams, Greenfield, Shieffer, Doris Kearns-Goodwin, Barnicle, Craig Crawford, Pat Buchannan and others. And they all made a point of talking to Charles about it in front of Imus.

I think it was Rob who said he'd run into Howard Stern the day before. Howard wanted Rob to pass a message to Charles that he'd received the invitation and that he'd be there. As I recall there were others going who weren't on the show. Bill and Hillary were among them.

As the guest list continued to grow there was a discussion about needing extra tables. Someone offered to bring extra place settings. Others would help Mrs. McCord with the cooking.

Imus kept asking why he couldn't go. Charles and the rest of the crew would offer up one lame excuse after another. Just on and on. It got to the point of being stupid but the stupider it got the funnier it got.

Then a day or so before Thanksgiving, Wyatt called the show to plead with Charles to let his family come for Thanksgiving. "We don't have any place to go. Why can't we come?" There's just the 3 of us. We won't take up much room. We'll even eat in the kitchen."

Charles appeared flustered at having to tell, then, 8 year old Wyatt, "No." Wyatt persisted and Charles stood his ground. Round and round it went with Wyatt getting some coaching from his father. Then when Wyatt saw he wasn't going to win he said, "Charles, you're an azzhole."

I got to thinking about that gag this weekend. Then this morning, out of the blue, Bo asked Imus what he was doing for Thanksgiving. Imus said, "We're going to Charles' house. (short pause) Aren't we Charles?" And Charles replied with an emphatic, "NO!"

And that was it. There was no other reference to the running Thanksgiving bit from two years ago.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

BTW, my real name is Roger but somehow I like being just Juan Morecow.

Queenpat said...

The previous hour, Imus and Charles were more involved with the "McCord Invite" with Charles finally saying "Yes!"...but that he and the family would be in the Poconos for Thanksgiving. Then Karith said that she wasn't invited either, that she was going to spend the day with her family...and that bit died.


Al said...

Yes, that Imus - McCord Thankgiving bit was going well... that Colmes is leaving "Hannity and Colmes", maybe Hannity will hire Karith away from Imus?!!

Laree said...

Imus got a comment on the I Man myspace page if you scroll through the comments, someone left a message and it said, tell Charles Thanks for the Invitation but I won't be able to make Thanksgiving:) Then yesterday it was Dog comments remember The Dog whisperer was on describing "Virgil"

Imus has a following on Myspace, It's a good thing "I Man" is a Alabama Tide Fan! Anyway he is on Myspace LOL!

CG said...

All right, the Thanksgiving story!

Wow, once again I see that all of my readers are also great writers. Thanks. :-)