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It's Official: Imus Returns Dec. 3

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sharpton Says Company Still Owes NABJ a Meeting

"Don Imus will return to the airwaves Dec. 3 on New York's WABC-AM, only nine months after the cantankerous shock jock's career seemed doomed over his racist, sexist remark about a women's college basketball team," Larry McShane reported Thursday for the Associated Press. The show will be syndicated nationally by the ABC Radio Network, the announcement said.


Citadel Broadcasting Corp. confirmed "long-rumored reports that Imus was coming back to morning drive time in the same city where he was banished in April," the story said.

"'We are ecstatic to bring Don Imus back to morning radio,' said 77 WABC President and General Manager Steve Borneman. 'Don's unique brand of humor, knowledge of the issues and ability to attract big-name guests is unparalleled. He is rested, fired up and ready to do great radio.'"

Imus will return with his longtime newsman, Charles McCord, and other members of his morning team, Citadel said, but the announcement made no mention of an African American participating in the show, which Imus had indicated he would seek, nor of any television connection. His previous show was simulcast on MSNBC and carried by CBS Radio.

While the announcement did not name stations in other markets that would carry the show, in June Walt Disney sold its ABC Radio unit to Citadel for nearly $2 billion in cash and stock. The Associated Press said that sale included 22 large-market radio stations.

Barbara Ciara, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said on Oct. 17 that Citadel had been keeping NABJ waiting since the previous week on the association's request for "dialogue" over Citadel's reported plans to put Imus back on the air.

The meeting never took place. Ernie Suggs, the association's vice president/print, told Journal-isms that NABJ would still like the meeting, but "we're going to try to get back to the business of NABJ. We'll just monitor it just like everybody else," he said of Imus' return.

The Rev. Al Sharpton issued this statement Thursday:

"National Action Network has always maintained that wherever Don Imus goes back to work the company should clearly outline to advertisers and trade organization[s] like the National [Association] of Black Journalists (NABJ), how they intend to safeguard against Mr. Imus returning to his former vile and biased behavior.

"One would think if they were sincere about his apologies and his new commitment they would enthusiastically meet with advertisers and the NABJ to voice these assurances. If they do not, then we exercise the right in the next 30-days to visit advertisers to ask what has changed since they withdrew their support to Mr. Imus's show 6-months-ago.

"If there are no guarantees that the same conduct they withdrew support from will be duplicated upon his return, we will certainly act accordingly. Mr. Imus has the right to make a living but we have the right to make sure he does not come back to disrupt our living. Particularly since these are the commitments he made personally."

Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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