Recording Date: 09.09.1979
Station: 66 WNBC New York (Wikipedia) (WNBC Tribute Facebook Page)
Format: Full Service/Top 40
Featured Air Personality: Don Imus (Imus in the Morning)
Contributor: Big Apple Airchecks
Original Comments: (edited)
In the long story of Don Imus’ career, few events could be stranger than NBC management’s decision to fire the personalities of WNBC radio. Among those let go in late ’77 were Cousin Bruce Morrow and morning man Don Imus.
Imus had been a new face in the hallowed halls of the flagship station of the NBC radio chain back in 1971, at a time when WNBC radio was still just rolling out from under a middle of the road format that was ostensibly 50 percent still network programming. With Imus in the Morning and Brucie at night, when he arrived in ’74, WNBC began to transform itself into a modern top 40 station.
But, it wasn’t quite enough. To even think about competing with Top 40 ratings giant WABC, NBC brass decided to flip the station to a less-talk, more music approach. So, one day in 1977, nearly the entire airstaff was let go. New faces, like Alan Beebe were introduced in the next two years, and a new, streamlined sound, it was hoped, would bring ratings up. In the end, it failed, and the lesson learned was that personality, coupled with the music was what brings listeners.
So it was that in September 1979, WNBC re-hired Don Imus for the morning show. Armed with a feisty attitude, a stack of rock & roll records and a leather jacket that said, “Imus is Back”… the Imus in the Morning show returned to 660 AM. And after a big gaffe that Imus uttered on air several years ago regarding the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team, Imus was fired from what became SportsRadio 66 WFAN (upon the expiration of WNBC in 1988, WFAN moved from 1050 to 660), then after a short hiatus, he was heard on the station he competed with in his early years, 77 WABC. Imus retired from broadcasting and WABC on March 29, 2018
11 thoughts on “Imus in the Morning – 66 WNBC New York | September 9, 1979”
Well, maybe Mr. Imus will change his ways. Although he is up there in age, it’s never too late for him to rid his racist behavior. Maybe his heavy drug and alcohol abuse from his younger days, screwed up his brain?? Nah, excuses can’t be made. May he rest in peace?
Imus learned a great deal. Keep your friends at a distance and your enemies even farther away.
Hope you feel the same way about Al Sharpton.
Great memories. But the date was 9/3/79. I was married the day before on 9/2/79. (the Sunday before Labor day).
I loved this aircheck of Imus and I loved his recent TV and Radio programs that he had before cancellation. I trust he will return so he can go out as a true legendary radio announcer and I think he will.
Im a senior in college. Comm major and dabbled a bit in radio and Imus is one of my broadcast idols. Like hearing this classic material from the I-Man.
I like the New York flavor when the little guy goes, “Quack, Quack”. Don Imus is real personality. Used ta listen ta Imus and da Wolfman while driving across the desert in Oregon at night. Insulting someone like the General Manager or other DJ is like you love the person if it is done “tongue in cheek”. Charles McChord! NBC! They were all good and can still be heard thanks to Airchexx.Com
Too bad there is nobody worth listening to on AM radio today.
Brings back some amazing memories.
One Important fact left out- the creep who fired Imus in 1977- none other than one of the ruiners of radio, Bob Pittman…I can just hear that stupid promo of his with the more music less talk garbage “and no echo…” Not that he and Lew care, but they do wonder why “nobody listens to terrestrial radio anymore…”
Al, I think you have to take it one step further – They actually THINK people ARE listening. Sure. That’s why the most popular and lucrative sales format is Classic Rock / Classic Hits. In fact, not just Classic Hits, but those who use the classic JAM WABC cuts and allow the jocks to cut loose a bit. But ‘people’ are a liability and hurt the bottom line. The music sucks as well. Listen to so many hits, no guitars, major keys with people singing in unison. Or rap crap with every foul word imaginable. The ‘kids’ eat it up, not having heard anything from 1979-80 (just random years, mind you)…. I’ll stop now as it’s time for work.