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No Afterlife For Imus

The blood is not dry on the cooling corpse of Don Imus' mass-media radio career, and already it's being assumed that the I-man, like Our Savior ascending into Heaven, will move on to the great gig in the sky: satellite radio. Fired from both CBS and MSNBC, Imus, says Slate's Stephen Metcalfe , will just move "off to an even bigger gig on satellite." Well, I say hold on there, cowboy.
The blood is not dry on the cooling corpse of Don Imus' mass-media radio career, and already it's being assumed that the I-man, like Our Savior ascending into Heaven, will move on to the great gig in the sky: satellite radio. Fired from both CBS and MSNBC, Imus, says Slate's Stephen Metcalfe , will just move "off to an even bigger gig on satellite." Well, I say hold on there, cowboy."In Las Vegas, no doubt they are already taking bets on how fast it will take for him to negotiate a contract with either Sirius or XM," writes Mitch Marconi. If so they're ignoring the huge changes that have taken place in the sat-radio business in the last 18 months. Most obviously, Sirius and XM are planning to merger - meaning that the fierce competitive pressure that led Sirius to sign up Howard Stern, and XM to grab Oprah, at astronomical contracts is no longer bearing down.

The merger was brought on in part by exactly those signings, which led management at both Sirius and XM to realize that they couldn't outspend the other while subscriber levels remain in the single-digit millions. Even if Imus does go to the combined XM-Sirius entity, there's no way he's getting a paycheck like his guttermouthed rival Stern got.

What's more, the level of scrutiny the XM-Sirius merger is under - the two just got a "second request" for information on the deal from the Dept. of Justice, a clear indication that DOJ doesn't like the way things smell - would only go up if one of them signed Imus. Do you really think that either Mel Karmazin (Imus' former boss at CBS, now the head of Sirius) or Gary Parsons of XM wants to aggravate the FCC right now by paying big bucks to the nation's most famous racist radio blatherer?

"Satellite radio may allow shock jocks to use curse words without incurring massive fines from the FCC," wrote CNNMoney's Paul LaMonica, before Imus got s-canned yesterday. "But satellite radio would not protect a radio personality from a backlash caused by stupid, offensive remarks."

Maybe, maybe not. But if I were Imus, I'd be looking at taking a nice, long vacation on his ranch -maybe even riding off into the sunset for good.

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