Person of the Day: Don Imus

DON IMUS. In the furor over his ugly comments about the Rutgers basketball team emerges the dollar-and-cents reason he hasn’t been fired (something that would have happened in a nanosecond to a lesser mortal). The NY Times today reports that his broadcasting empire rakes in $50 million a year. Advertisers like AT&T, Sprint Nextel, do very, very well by advertising on this show, which descends to the lower depths of human sensitivity on a regular basis. Anyone who has listened in knows Imus’ good-boy/bad-boy drill. And sexism/racism is part of the package. It’s there for an important reason. He knows what certain people will guilty-pleasure-belly-laugh at. Bo Dietl, a former NYC detective, a regular on the show, says, “If you handcuff him and just take away the ‘entertainment’ [my quotes] it will just become like any other talk show.” Yep, that’s “entertainment.” So, perhaps the fault, dear Nextel, is not in our radio stars but in ourselves. His name says it all: I’m Us.

PS: Larry Gerbrandt, senior vice president and media analyst for Nielson, says, “My bet is he survives…If the notoriety pushes up his ratings, he could even come out ahead.”