Imus in the Money
Breaking news! From Matt Drudge! Don Imus has a deal! Woo-hoo! Reports the fedora’d one:
Radio host Don Imus has agreed to settle his contract with CBS for $20 million, and a non disparaging clause, legal sources claim. The move opens the possibility Imus will soon return to the airwaves — on WABC in New York! [Top radio executive strongly dismisses Imus will be offered WABC slot] Developing…
Hmm. That denouement sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?
UPDATE, 3:06 p.m.: And the AP (via the Times) says it is so.
Imus: $20 Million Man [Drudge]
The Resurrection of Don Imus [NYM]
Howard Stern: It Was Time for Imus to GoHoward Stern knows a thing or two about getting flak for saying politically incorrect things on air, but Don Imus shouldn’t expect any sympathy from his fellow shock jock. “I never was a big fan of Imus,” the King of All Media told us at the Tribeca premiere of Adam Carolla’s The Hammer last week. “I don’t appreciate his broadcasting, and I didn’t appreciate him back when I worked with him. It’s time for him to take that cowboy hat and the spurs and the chaps, and maybe go to an S&M bondage house or something with that uniform.” The two have a long history together, both coming to national prominence on WNBC-AM in the seventies and eighties, where Imus aired in the mornings, Stern in the afternoons, and they became rivals. “It was time for him to go,” Stern said last week. —Bennett Marcus
the morning line
Bruce Ratner vs. the Homeless, Too
• 350 residents were ordered out of a homeless shelter after a parapet fell off a Ratner-condemned building next door. Even the dourest pessimists at Develop Don’t Destroy didn’t think mass displacement at Atlantic Yards would already be an issue. [NYT]
• So that’s why the City Council wants to ban metal bats: An assistant baseball coach at East Side’s Norman Thomas H.S. allegedly went medieval with one, clubbing two kids over the head for cheering on a rival team. [NYDN]
• Not a week after a court confirmed activists’ right to film cops at protests, the NYPD is asking a judge to give officers back the right to film protesters. Everyone’s a damn auteur in this city. [amNY]
• Asian American groups are steadily mounting an Imus Redux; CBS Radio is under pressure to can shock jocks “JV and Elvis” for prank-calling a Chinese restaurant with “shlimp flied lice” jokes. Shouldn’t we be addressing the larger issue of why prank-calling restaurants is a marketable career option? [MediaChannel]
• And Jon Corzine says “I’m the most blessed person who ever lived.” Point taken, J.C.: The man is walking and talking two weeks after meeting a guardrail at 91mph. [WNBC]
in the magazine
When Imus Stopped Giving Interviews (the First Time)Leafing through some seventies issues of the magazine earlier today, searching for David Halberstam’s contributions to New York, we happened across the most curious thing. It was the October 30, 1972, issue, and Halberstam’s piece was on the ascent of Spiro Agnew. (No, we couldn’t make it all the way through.) But on page 62 we found this: “Why I Won’t Talk to Journalists Any More.” It was a media column by Don Imus. “I want to say right up front that I am a star,” he begins.
I am in fact a very big star. The hottest thing to hit radio in 50 years. I have been in New York less than a year, and when you are not in New York City the national press ignores you. I was a big star last year in Cleveland, but the New York press was not bright enough to realize what I was going to mean to them. Now everybody in the country wants to write about me.
‘GQ’: Is the Republican Party Invading Air America?Egads! There’s a Republican infiltration of liberal radio network Air America’s uppermost ranks, according to the new GQ, hitting stands tomorrow. The ailing talk-radio experiment may have been saved from obsolescence when developer Stephen Green — along with his brother, omnipresent New York Dem Mark Green — scooped it up at a bargain-basement price in January, but it turns out at least one member of Green’s team is a Bushie. Quoth Scott Elberg, the company’s chief operating officer: “I voted for George Bush. I’d been a Republican since I started making money.” Elberg now claims that the Iraq mess has turned him to forces of goodness and light — which, actually, might be the biggest shame of all. Isn’t a touch of old-fashioned, GOP, utterly unprincipled capitalism just what Air America needs in its executives?
CORRECTION, April 18: This item originally described Elberg as Air America’s “new” COO, brought in by the Greens to run the network, a characterization provided to us by GQ. The Greens inform us that Elberg worked at Air America before the purchase, GQ has acknowledged the error, and we’ve corrected the item.
Earlier: Daily Intel’s coverage of Air America
It’s Hard Out Here for a Public-Radio Fund-raiserIt’s not easy soliciting money for a good cause, and, indeed, a recent e-mail exchange among execs at WNYC, New York’s public-radio station, exposes the delicate art of not-for-profit fund-raising. Under discussion was a press release to announce a fund-raising campaign for the station’s new Varick Street headquarters. The first draft of the release lacked a statement from Dawn Greene, widow of philanthropist Jerome Greene, whose $6 million gift was the largest ever made to a public-radio station. “Why not include a quote from Dawn?” wonders Laura Walker, WNYC’s president and CEO, in a leaked e-mail. “[It would] allow someone else to say nice things about us.”
Don Imus and Other Great Moments in Bigoted Slurs
And so the “nappy-headed hos” remark has cost Don Imus his job. The final denouement, which came with CBS Radio’s canning the I-Man last night, a day after MSNBC dropped the simulcast of his show, has seemed inevitable for most of the week, as protests had intensified, advertisers had balked, and the great and august Ana Marie Cox had announced she would never again deign to appear on such a juvenile broadcast. (Cox first gained fame as the editor of Wonkette, where she was known for her anal-sex jokes.) But it has not always been thus; many, many public figures have uttered bigoted slurs and lived to tell the tale. After the jump, a look back at some Great Moments in Bigoted Slurs.
WNYC Unveils Its New Home, Tastefully
Public-radio pooh-bahs including Ira Glass, Jonathan Schwartz, and Brian Lehrer were among the 150 or so who gathered this morning for breakfast in the Varick Street building that will soon house WNYC’s airy new studios. (The station was heretofore crammed into a tight warren of offices near the top of the Municipal Building.) The new digs will feature a these-days de rigueur street-level studio with seating for 120 and picture windows onto the sidewalk. Kristen Chenoweth hosted, her typically perky self despite getting off a plane, she said, from “the vapid wasteland” of Los Angeles only six hours before. She serenaded Dawn Greene — the name of her late husband, Jerome L. Greene, will grace the street-side space, for which his foundation donated $6 million — and the audience applauded not only the emcee but also themselves for not stooping to the ratings-grabbing level of people like, say, Don Imus. Leonard Lopate, for one, recalled one of the raciest moments on his long-running interview show, when Kurt Vonnegut asked in the middle of a conversation whether Lopate was having an affair with his wife. “I said, ‘I don’t think so,’” recalled the host, who insists he wasn’t. Vonnegut later apologized.
in the magazine
Imus in the Seventies“There are those who would claim that Imus occasionally lapses into good taste,” Mike McGrady writes in New York. “If true, this may well be a result of several lengthy discussions he has had with the station manager and the program director, his ‘Mr. Vicious’ and ‘Mr. Numb.’ The upshot of those discussions is that he will never, never, not ever do any more jokes about Chappaquiddick or, for that matter, anyone else involved in a personal tragedy.” McGrady’s profile is from the April 3, 1972, issue. The I-Man was 31 years old, freshly arrived at New York’s WNBC, and he was a new and jarring force in radio. He was also, it seems, very much the same guy he is now. Which New York radio personalities did Imus admire?, McGrady asked. “David Steinberg —he’s very funny for a Jewish person.” We’ve dug the profile from the archives; you can read it as a PDF.
Radio Therapy: Shock Treatment in the Morning [NYM, PDF]
the morning line
Bye, I• MSNBC and CBS are taking Don Imus off the air for two weeks, prompting the Post headline “Don Ho” (you have to think about that one for a minute). Seems calling Al Sharpton “you people” didn’t help things. [NYP]
•It has begun: Downtown’s Community Board 1 is absolutely outraged by JPMorgan Chase’s plans to build a skyscraper cantilevering over a nearby park. Joining the pile-on are the unions miffed by Chase’s demand for fat relocation incentives. [MetroNY]
• Ex–New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey is suing his estranged wife Dina Matos, ostensibly not to stop her from promoting a tell-all but to make her stop dragging their 5-year-old daughter to the readings. He also accuses Matos of, yup, homophobia. [NYP]
• East Hamptonites are divided in the wake of an over-the-top immigration raid. Armed agents in bulletproof vests pushed through the doors, SWAT style, in search for the homeowner’s estranged husband. [NYT]
• And will a Brooklyn Law student be booted after appearing in a Playboy TV video nude and playing with judge’s gavels? Probably not, but come bar-exam time, the Committee on Character and Fitness will have some research to do. [NYDN]
in other news
NPR Discovers ‘Zack’Meet Zack. He’s young, he’s hip, he’s in the know, he’s got money to spend, and he just loves listening to National Public Radio. There’s only one drawback to the advertiser’s wet dream that is Zack, and it is that Zack is a figment of NPR staffers’ imagination. (Perhaps he lives next door to the Baileys?) He recently made his debut in a company memo, “NPR Zack: A New Space for Younger Listeners,” trumpeting new ways in which public radio can entice the slipping 25-to-44 demographic. Those ways, according to the memo, are, well, music and news. Except, you know, cool. Like, for instance, news will be delivered throughout the day by “newshounds.”
Sarah Vowell Dreams of Bill Nighy and Grange Hall
Name: Sarah Vowell
Job: Writer, contributor to “This American Life.” She will appear at a live performance of the public-radio show tonight at Lincoln Center.
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
My favorite New Yorker’s body part is a tie between Peter Stuyvesant’s peg leg and Richard Hell’s Voidoids-era hair.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Gastronomically, we’re looking at a tie between Babbo and Per Se (I’m allergic to wheat and they baked me my own personal loaf of corn bread), but the honest if annoyingly folksy answer is that my best meals are always at the Old Town Bar, eating red meat with people I really like.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
This time of year I do a lot of readings and speak at colleges, which means I spend about 2 hours at a podium and the other 22 stranded at O’Hare.
Ira Glass TV: A Sexy Liberal Bod to Match Sexy Liberal Voice?Last spring New York brought you news that Ira Glass’s This American Life would be coming to Showtime. And now, almost a year later, it’s nearly here. It’ll debut March 22 on Showtime, but, meantime, a video teaser has been posted to the TAL site. We took a look, and though we’re a touch skeptical of Glass’s claim that his show will “look different from anything else on television,” we know this: Finally those gruppy Brooklyn gals will have a visual aid to help round out their audio fantasies.
This American Life: The Television Show [ThisAmericanLife.org]
A Chicago Radio Hit Moves to New York, and TV [NYM]
the morning line
DHS Now Officially Full of Shit• The federal formula used to allot New York its pitiful share of anti-terrorism funds has been officially discredited. A new GAO report says — in as many words — that Homeland Security officials lack methods to assess risk. Actuarial math aside, failure to classify the Empire State Building as a landmark was a bit of a giveaway. [NYDN]
• In related news, the Empire State Building is America’s favorite piece of architecture, according to the American Institute of Architects poll. The White House is number two. [WNBC]
• Meet Tom DiNapoli. As New York’s Chris Smith reported yesterday, state legislators reneged on a deal with Governor Spitzer and installed the assemblyman as the new state comptroller. On the upside, according to the Times, DiNapoli is apparently the nicest guy in Albany. [NYT]
• The plot thickens in the Long Island fake-cop case. The con man in question not only wore fake uniform and a prop badge; he owned a car complete with a siren, maintained the cop identity 24/7, and shook down criminals for a living. [NYP]
• And it’s official: The bankrupt Air America now belongs to real-estate mogul Stephen Green, brother of Mark. The price tag on the voice of the American Left? $4.25 million. We assume they threw in The Nation. [amNY]
it just happened
Mark Green’s Brother Buys Air AmericaTwo-year-old Air America, the “liberal radio network” currently languishing in Chapter 11 protection — and is it our imagination, or has it always been languishing in Chapter 11? — is in for a major makeover, according to news reports today. First, its current group of investor-owners are washing their hands of the ailing enterprise; it’s all but sold to Stephen Green, the founder of SL Green Realty Corp. and the brother of Mark (the former mayoral candidate). Second, the scratchy voice of the network, Al Franken, is leaving next month. Portland-based author Thom Hartmann, whom we don’t know much about but who looks strikingly like an SNL parody of a liberal, will take his time slot. Everyone agrees that Air America — whose noble attempt to counteract right-wing bloviators ran into the fact that liberals suck at yelling or being yelled at — can use retooling. But we’re more interested in two other items perhaps implicit in the sale. One, we’ve got to assume Mark Green is not as retired from politics as some have predicted, and, two, we’ve also got to assume Al Franken is definitely running for Senate.
SL Green Founder to Acquire Air America [Crain’s]
Dogs Laugh, Stars Swap, and Keillor PeesThe Little Dog Laughed is freshly opened, well-reviewed, and its star — Julie White — delivers one of the best performances in recent Broadway memory. So it’s the sort of show at which you expect you’ll run into boldfaced sorts. That it’s about show business — if, yes, viciously satirically — only increases the likelihood you’ll see Hollywood types. And, sure enough, last night’s crowd murmured with quasi-interest at the sight of a black-knit-cap-wearing Woody Harrelson in one row and a still-recognizable-despite-possibly-having-had-work-done Steve Guttenberg across the theater. When intermission came, the two stars gravitated toward each other (some sort of Cheers–Ted Danson–Three Men and a Little Lady connection, perhaps?). At which point they decided to switch seats. And dates. Neither man was the night’s biggest star attraction, however. That honor belonged to Garrison Keillor, who politely and patiently received good wishes from fans — even one elderly man who, while Keillor was pinned in the Cort Theater’s tiny men’s room, face to face with a urinal, took the opportunity to lean in and tell him, “My wife and I spend every Saturday night listening to your show.” And the occasional Wednesday night, apparently, watching him do something else.
— Adam Sternbergh
it just happened
Air America Declares Bankruptcy; Dog Bites ManAP is reporting — and CNN is giving top placement to — what is likely the least surprising news you’ll read all week:
NEW YORK (AP) – Air America Radio, a liberal talk and news radio network that features the comedian Al Franken, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a network official told The AP.
It’s like an anniversary present to Republicans, whose let’s-make-it-harder-to-declare-bankruptcy bankruptcy reform went into effect a year ago next week.
Air America Radio Files Chapter 11 [CNN.com]
in other news
Satellite Radio Caves to Pressure; Daily Intel Does NotAs we recall it, the satellite-radio rebels promised two things: no commercials, and curse words. That first part is falling by the wayside, but, hey, at least they’re being creative and putting curse words in the commercials. As the Daily News reported the other day, the New York–based satellite badasses at Sirius recently aired the world’s first-ever radio ad featuring profanity. It’s for a “homeopathic nasal spray” called Sinus Buster. Sadly, the ad has since been pulled from Sirius’ rotation in wake of a condemnation from the National Association of Broadcasters. (Which, if we may point out, recently launched a series of PSAs celebrating free speech.) Fortunately, the powerful broadcasting lobby doesn’t scare us here at Daily Intel. Behold: the first-ever Web posting of the first-ever radio ad to say “shit.” Shit, yeah.
— Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sinus Busters [MP3]
Sirius: 1st Ad With 4-Letter Word [NYDN]
Related: Howard Stern in Space [NYM]