Where Imus Goes, Advertisers Will Follow

Posted by: David Kiley on August 15, 2007

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If Don Imus, the exiled morning dee-jay returns to the airwaves this Fall, which is widely expected, it won’t be long until major advertisers line up to sponsor his show.

Imus, who was banished by CBS and MSNBC last April for racially derogatory remarks made in reference to the Rutgers University womens basketball team, has freed himself from his contract with CBS and has been negotiating with other radio outlets. He has also reportedly been seen scouting comedy clubs and reviewing tapes of comedians, specifically African American comedians, to be on his newly constituted show.

Advertisers including General Motors, Staples and American Express pulled ads from Imus’s show even before he was suspended, and then fired.. There is speculation that he may surface at New York’s WABC-AM. If he does, look for second and third tier advertisers like mattress companies and car-repair chains to be the first wave of advertisers to buy what will be cheaply priced time on Imus’s show. If he behaves himself, and ratings climb, GM and others will almost surely follow.

GM, for example, has been courting the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glen Beck, buying ad time on their shows and getting them to talk up GM models. Obscenity may be defined by the FCC. But these guys are as offensive as Imus ever was when talking about people they don’t like or agree with—i.e. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Cindy Sheehan. If they can support these guys, they can certainly advertise on Imus again without too much fear of retribution. Some advertisers that previously advertised on Imus will probably stay away for good. But those advertisers, I would think, will be more than off-set by new advertisers that hadn’t been part of Imus’s mix before.

Imus’s audience has always been smaller that shows like Limbaugh. But his audince demographic is much more valuable. He attracts a much higher income and more educated listener than Limbaugh and Hannity. Hmmmm. Wonder why?

Look for Imus to re-cast his new show. It won’t be exactly like the one he left behind at CBS and MSNBC. For one thing, a lot of media personalities and politicians who were a mainstay will stay away…at least until he proves he has changed his stripes, and is willing to provide a safer on-air environment for them.

Some media types will flat out be asked by their employers not to appear on the show. Politicians will wait and see if any constituent groups come out against Imus when he’s back on the air. It should be interesting.

Reader Comments

Jim Morrison

August 15, 2007 7:38 PM

I believe Imus is the most entertaining personality on radio and TV ever! He is a multiple Marconi award winner, Hall of Fame, etc. But more importantly his fans are as LOYAL as you can get, and they WILL follow him wherever he goes, no doubt! And he will be listened to and watched by HUGE numbers - his old fans along with the new ones who now have heard of him due to this latest episode. He has folks that had not heard of him, but will watch and listen initially out of curiosity, and will become HOOKED by his great show! His final 4 or 5 years in radio and TV will easily be his most lucrative for both him and his employer - it could not have been scripted any better, regardless of whether or not this was made up or not - the controversy was not made up obviously, but his actions to get the controversy going? Whatever it was, it was BRILLIANT - just like our "I-MAN" Go I-Man - we love ya!!!

Kathy

August 15, 2007 9:47 PM

I imagine that people will be falling all over themselves to get on Imus' new show and the back-stabbing phoney guests from the old show---will be left out in the cold. And rightfully so.

Counting the days until Imus returns...

carrie elkin.

August 16, 2007 7:09 AM

It won't be long before everyone who is anyone with something to sell will be standing in line to get IMUS to sell their product. IMUS is many, many things...and one thing he does really well is SELL. And you are correct in saying that is audience is a smarter audience than some other personalities...I should know, because I have had the pleasure of getting to know many of them over the past few months via e-mail on various IMUS sites.

carrie elkin.

August 16, 2007 7:09 AM

It won't be long before everyone who is anyone with something to sell will be standing in line to get IMUS to sell their product. IMUS is many, many things...and one thing he does really well is SELL. And you are correct in saying that is audience is a smarter audience than some other personalities...I should know, because I have had the pleasure of getting to know many of them over the past few months via e-mail on various IMUS sites.

Cindy Smith

August 16, 2007 8:39 AM

We live in a very small town in East Texas, Center. We religiously watched Imus every morning and when he went off the air, we felt like a friend, no a very good frined had died. We were devasted, and not just about Imus, but the whole gang, Charles, Lou, & Bernie.

We miss them very,very much and would love to have his radio on XM so people everywhere could wake up to our friend again.

We love everything he does and support him all the way.

Thank you for your time,

Cindy Smith

Sandra

August 17, 2007 7:53 PM

I don't condone what Don Imus did. It was wrong. It is also equally as offensive to not practice love, forgiveness, and restoration. I think that Rev. Al Sharpton hurt his Christian testimony in that area. I never saw love, kindness, or Christ-likeness at all. Furthermore, it is as equally offensive to have a double standard in this country. Yet, rappers and r&b artists are applauded and accepting of downgrading women everyday and in every word on the airways that CBS and MSNBC is financing indirectly. That is also very offensive and not fair!! The punishment should be the same all the way across the board.

Martin Calle

August 18, 2007 10:28 PM

Don Imus is great fly-paper if you chase consumer ears and eyeballs wherever they may go.
Martin Calle
Chief of Strategy
Disruptive Consumer Intelligence
Calle & Company
www.CalleCompany.com

Larry

August 23, 2007 2:02 AM

I know that people took great offense to his comment..But, to be honest..I 've been called alot
worse in my life and he made a slip comment..So what? Let it go and go on with your life..Lifes too short to go around blaming other people about
just words..who really cared and why did they really go after him????????

Rick

August 30, 2007 8:53 PM

Don Imus had the best best show on TV. His topics were right in target. And we all have the right of freedom of speech and No one has the right to take it away. When and where is his new show going to be? Please email me if you know cause I don't want to miss it!

London

September 3, 2007 9:18 PM

I-Man!!!! I know you would tell me to get off your phone if I was calling. I have been looking for a place to post the fact that I cannot wait for you to come back. We need you. Period. Not only during this political season, but always. I have been patient all summer, but now it's time for you to return. I know you are through cowboying for the summer. The rest of us have been in a very dry world since you've been away. Please don't leave us again!!! We are loyal fans and want you back immediately. Bernie will be missed a lot if he doesn't come back with you. He is very, very funny. Happy Chuck will be there! I cannot wait for your return.

Annie England

September 8, 2007 3:03 PM

Don Imus & company was the reason I arose every morning at 6am - I didn't want to miss a minute of his show and my day was incomplete without him. I went into a deep depression when he was viciously attacked and fired, and still mourn the loss. I refuse to watch any other morning TV programs - they are all pablum. Please let me know when Don, Chuck, Bernie and maybe even Sid will be back with us again.
Annie England

Dennis

September 9, 2007 2:52 PM

One post above said that Al Sharpton had hurt "his Christain testimony" by not forgiving Imus. Ha! Sharpton is a first-class fraud just like Jesse Jackson. Both are nothing but shakedown artists who pretend to be ministers. Exactly where are they ministers? Nowhere. Imus has more of a testimony than these jerks!

I didn't agree with everything the I-Man said but he was entertaining. And yes I'd watch him again. CBS & MSNBC lost a great radio man. Besides, how can MSNBC's ratings get any lower?

P.S. the jerk who wrote this article slams Rush, Sean and Glenn. Businessweek wishes it had as many readers as just one of these guys has listeners. Rush pulls in 20+ MILLION listeners every week & Sean isn't far behind. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. Kiley!

Rhonda Piles

September 10, 2007 5:00 PM

Imus,
I have been tivoing you for a couple of years on MSNBC and have really enjoyed watching your shows. I really miss you and Bradshaw on Fridays. I live in Arkansas and have never voted for Clinton and will never vote for a Clinton. I have enjoyed watching you wack everyone equally. I only hope I can pick up what ever station you are on. I hope it is TV because we have poor radio reception here in the boonies. Very few people around my community have heard of you and I had encouraged them to watch your show. Most people here are registered Democrates, as I am, just so I can vote in most of the elections, but I vote for the person and usually Republican or Independent.
I no longer watch MSNBC since they were such cowards and did not stand behind you. Back here in the boonies good ole Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson don't have much pull. And I have some great black buddies and I do love Oprah. I didn't approve of what you said but that did not affect those girls like the shooting on that campus did and yet that little slip of your tongue got more media time than all the pain and suffering of all those families. I also was looking forward to you visiting our troops over seas. I so want to thank you for all you, your wife and your gang have done for all the children and our troops. Jesse and Al need to take lessons from you people about how to spend their time instead of going around nit picking.
Maybe they need to look in their on back yard. I am a retired farmer (chickens, cattle, still have horses). Now have a kennel with over 100 dogs that I love. My husband works with endangered woodpeckers and other wildlife (US FOREST SERVICE)

so we have it pretty good back here in the Ozark Mountains.
Well I could write you a book. Us ole southern gals tend to go on and on. Hang in their Imus. You are one of my Hero's along with Kinky.

charlotte

September 20, 2007 1:58 PM

I too was sad the day they fired IMUS, I too would get up at 5 am only to watch the gang. Please come back to television and brighten our world again! Shame on MSNBC and CBS for taking our sunshine away! They deserve bad ratings.

Texas Gal

Kata

October 6, 2007 1:14 PM

In 1996 and in 1997 I was living in NYC.My favourit tv.personality was Don Imus.He is so educated,so American and at the same time he is so not American--I can't explain it!I loved his style(even most of the times I didn't understand him!!)BUT! it was a pleasure.I liked the way as he tried to educate people--a little different way as the most tv. shows!!He had such guests as Norman Mailer, and B.B.King and that time was his Whitaker Chambers "period", even he got an old type-writer as a Chritmas present.I loved the way as he talked about his wife and about his brother.I bought his book "God's Other Son"(I've read it!)and I also bought his photo-album book, in which he and his brother had taken photos on different places of the States.I brought it home to my brother as present.
I'd be happy if you come back soon.
Kata from Hungary

Jeremy

October 17, 2007 12:31 PM

Could someone actually produce the proof that Imus has a wealthy audience?

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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