Don Imus Loses His Battle With Prostate Cancer
Don Imus, a legendary Talk radio host who became famous for his morning show at the former WNBC-AM in New York and, later, at WFAN, died Friday morning from complications tied to prostate cancer.
He was 79 years old.
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According to media reports, Imus was hospitalized Christmas Eve at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center, in College Station, Tex. An exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago.
For years, the syndicated Imus in the Morning program attracted a loyal following of older men, who were magnetized by the host’s acerbic politically tinged comedy and bits that had its origins in the 1970s, when Imus was one of the most well-known — and controversial — radio stars in Cleveland and in New York.
His syndicated show was brought to radio stations across the U.S. by ABC Radio Networks and, later, via Cumulus Media.It was also simulcast on the Fox Business Network for a period.
In a statement provided to the Hollywood Reporter, the Imus family said Don “loved and adored” his wife Deirdre. It also noted his support for children with cancer through the ImusRanch.
The family will be holding a small, private funeral, Radio Ink reports.
Don Imus Loses His Battle With Prostate Cancer https://t.co/bqtvWP3XXY
— RADIO WATCHER (@RadioWatcher) December 28, 2019
Imus’ career included highs and lows. In 2007, CBS Radio and MSNBC reacted to comments made by the host considered derogatory toward members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team by dropping in the Morning.
He would find a home at WABC-AM 770, and syndication via Cumulus predecessor Citadel.
Perhaps the height of Imus’ career in radio was in the early 1980s, when he served as the morning host of WNBC-AM 660 in New York. His reign at the top of the ratings was challenged, however, by the arrival on Aug. 30, 1982, of Howard Sternas the eventual afternoon host.
Imus in the Morning first found a home in New York at WNBC in 1971. It was very “in-your-face” and pre-“shock jock” at a time when the most edgy hosts in radio had been the late Bob Crane at KNX-AM in Los Angeles during the 1960s.
Imus joined WNBC just three years after starting his career at KUTY-AM in Palmdale, Calif. He then, briefly, worked at KJOY in Stockton, and then at KXOA/Sacramento. In 1970, he was hired by WGAR in Cleveland, where he found a following.
That led him to WNBC, where he began on a December morning 48 years ago. He reportedly had a $100,000 per year salary — in 1972.
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