Don Imus Dead at 79

Don Imus, controversial radio personality, died Dec. 27. He was 79. Imus had been battling prostate cancer, but the cause of death was not divulged.

John Donald Imus was born in 1940 in Riverside, California. Early in his career, Imus was at KUTY in Palmdale, California and KJOY Stockton, then KXOA Sacramento, making a name for himself with his on-air pranks.

In 1971, Imus moved to WNBC New York, where he hosted Imus in the Morning. He left the station in 1977 due to a format change, according to the New York Times, and shifted to Cleveland, but was back at WNBC in 1979.

Imus in the Morning became nationally syndicated in 1993, and MSNBC began simulcasting it in 1996.

In 2007, Imus referred to the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed ho’s.” He apologized, but his show, then heard on WFAN New York and seen on MSNBC, was canceled.

Imus was back on the air with Citadel Radio and RFD-TV. In 2009, Imus and RFD, a rural TV network, mutually agreed to end their contract three years early, said the NY Times, and he moved on to a simulcast deal with Fox Business Network.

Imus was active in various charities, including ones dedicated to wounded veterans and children with cancer. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.