Radio legend Don Imus passed away on December 27. For those of us who were fans, this is sad news. For those who were less than fans, they’re wondering how it took so long.
Coming out of the depths of his drug days, Imus in the late 80s assembled a team of comic geniuses with his longtime newsman Charles McCord writing most of the material and voiced by Larry Kenney and Rob Bartlett who also joined in the writing. Those three used mostly real people such as Richard Nixon, Andy Rooney, radio legend Scott Muni, and New York Yankee Joe Pepitone as vehicles for hilarious and cutting commentary on issues of the day with Imus introducing one of the characters and then sitting back with the rest of us to roar at the material. Joining in the madness was his engineer Lou Ruffino and producer Bernard McGuirk who gave us John Cardinal O’Connor doing the NY State Lottery numbers which always ended with a round of “Which Doesn’t Belong and Why?”
But the ringmaster and undisputed leader of this madness was Don Imus who had politicians and personalities of every persuasion regularly calling in and actually having conversations. Yes, he was no saint and not for everyone, and he could be cranky and ill-tempered, and was a drunk and drug addict, but he never shied away from saying who he was and along the way entertained millions and helped a lot of very sick kids with his ranch and radiothons. A mixed legacy for sure.
I personally learned from Imus in how he described moving away from drinking and drugs by going one day, one hour, one minute at a time if that’s what it took, the path to changing your priorities.