Don Imus, Radio Host Who Pushed Boundaries, Dies at 79

The Union Journal – by Miriam Jackson

Mr. Imus obtained his first radio job in 1968 at KUTY, in Palmdale, Calif., however switched to KJOY in Stockton, the place he was fired for saying “hell” on the air. At KXOA in Sacramento, he known as a restaurant, posed as a sergeant and ordered 1,200 hamburgers to go, for his troops. The Federal Communications Fee slapped his wrist, however the gag was a success with listeners. Billboard journal named him disc jockey of the yr for medium-size markets. By 1970, he was with WGAR in Cleveland. 

In 1971, Mr. Imus moved to WNBC in New York and launched “Imus within the Morning.” It was an in a single day sensation, and he was quickly doing stand-up comedy in golf equipment and slicing albums. One album was “1,200 Hamburgers to Go,” and one other featured his satirical character, the Proper Rev. Dr. Billy Sol Hargus, a radio evangelist who was a cross between the TV preacher Billy James Hargis and the fertilizer swindler Billie Sol Estes. In 1981, he revealed a novel, “God’s Different Son,” which provided extra Hargus tales. Reprinted in 1994, it was a greatest vendor.

Mr. Imus was fired by WNBC in a format change in 1977 and returned to Cleveland, however by 1979 he was again with WNBC, mixing music, speak and parody. In 1988, WNBC was offered to Emmis Broadcasting, which stored “Imus within the Morning” among the many sports activities programming on WFAN. The present turned nationally syndicated in 1993, and in 1996 MSNBC started simulcasting it.

Within the ’70s and ’80s, Mr. Imus led a rock-star life and battled alcoholism and cocaine dependancy. He frightened about getting attacked and carried a licensed pistol. He typically missed work, and his well being issues turned obvious.

There have been rants. He ran round at work in his shorts and threw cash on sidewalks. He went into rehabilitation in 1987 and returned sober. However in 1992 a lung collapsed. In 2000 he fell from a horse, breaking ribs and a collarbone and collapsing one other lung.

His program turned extra political within the 1990s, with members of Congress, presidential candidates and journalists as company. Many had been abused on the air. In 1996, on the correspondents’ dinner in Washington, he insulted President Invoice Clinton and Hillary Clinton, who had been there; he later referred to it as “The Speech From Hell.” His conduct led to lawsuits, a lot of them settled out of court docket, although he was indemnified by employers.

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4 thoughts on “Don Imus, Radio Host Who Pushed Boundaries, Dies at 79

    1. I first heard about his passing on NYC local news, this evening. I was SHOCKED to hear that he died in a hospital in College Station, TX. (my hometown).

  1. he was quite the character and definitely had a face for radio

    the comment that got him in the most hot water was the one he made about the women on a college basketball team…lawsuit and all…….part of the set up for where we are today when anything negative (even if true) said about the jew is ‘anti-semitic’

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