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April 13, 2007

On Imus

Don Imus was fired yesterday from his WFAN show. This has been churning for a while ever since he used racist and misogynistic remarks to describe the Rutgers Women's Basketball team. I'm not going to get into all of that here, and it's not like his remarks were out of the ordinary but rather I'm going to talk about my indirect experiences with Imus.

What most surprises me is the claim that Imus's audience leans heavily in the 18-34 advertising demographic. I find this difficult to believe. My experience with Don Imus is this: back in January of '06, when I still lived in Cambridge, I heard that Ana Marie Cox (former editor of Wonkette) was coming to Brookline Booksmith to promote her book Dog Days. That very morning, she appeared on Imus to talk about her book. As a consequence, a bunch of Imus's fans appeared that evening to hear what all the hype was about. As Jason of Happy Scrappy wrote about that evening:

My friend Berto and I sat down about 15 minutes before showtime. Near us were two older men -- I’d say late 50’s to mid 60’s -- who began quizzing us on what a blog is. They had never heard of Wonkette; one didn’t even own a computer. It turns out both just heard Cox on the radio that day, and decided to come check it out. After they said this, I looked around the room and guessed at least half the crowd was the same as them. I expected a young, hip, blogging crowd, but it looked more like an NPR event.

It was this crowd that turned out to be extremely disruptive and kind of ignorant about what Cox was all about and what her book was all about. I touched on this briefly when I wrote about my experience at the reading. There were some questioners asking long, rambling, off-topic questions, along with one questioner who, for no reason, got downright hostile. Why? I think the attendees had stuff about politics that they wanted to get off their chests, and Cox, representing "politics" was a convenient target.

So if you had to ask me who I thought Imus's audience was, I'd have said, "cranky old people." Maybe his demographics were actually a better crowd than that-- I actually can't seem to find any firm data on the issue. However, I can't say that my direct experience with his listeners has been particularly positive.

Posted by Dean at April 13, 2007 7:31 AM

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Huh! I didn't know they had heard her on Imus. That puts the event in a totally different light. Interesting. Thanks!

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