Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April 4 Radio History

In 1914.
..singer/actress Frances Langford was born Frances Newbern in Lakeland Florida.  Her fame began as the longtime vocalist (& skit player) on Bob Hope’s radio shows, her many USO tours with Hope, and her role as Blanche Bickerson opposite Don Ameche in The Bickersons, radio’s favorite battling couple.  She died from congestive heart failure July 11 2005 at age 89

In 1922...WAAB, Baton Rouge, Louisiana became the first station in the United States to have call letters that began with "W".

In 1938...after seven years of singing in the evening on the radio, Kate Smith began a new daily noontime quarter-hour talk show on CBS.

In 1996...the Howard Stern Radio program debuted on KJFK-FM, Austin, Texas.

Don Imus
In 2007...Don Imus called the Rutgers women basketball team "nappy-headed hos". The comment erupted into a firestorm of condemnation which a week later led to him being fired from his nationally syndicated radio show.

On April 4, 2007, during a discussion about the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, Imus characterized the Rutgers University women's basketball team players as "rough girls," commenting on their tattoos. His executive producer Bernard McGuirk responded by referring to them as "hardcore hos". The discussion continued with Imus describing the girls as "nappy-headed hos" and McGuirk remarking that the two teams looked like the "jigaboos versus the wannabes" mentioned in Spike Lee's film, School Daze; apparently referring to the two teams' differing appearances.

After outrage from the initial reports, Imus dismissed the incident as "some idiot comment meant to be amusing".  He also stated that "nappy-headed hoes" is a term that rap artists use to refer to African-American women.

He said: "That phrase [nappy-headed ho] didn't originate in the White Community. That phrase originated in the Black community. Young Black women all through that society are demeaned and disparaged and disrespected by their own Black men, and they are called that name in Black hip hop."

In response to mounting public censure, Imus issued a statement of apology:

I want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team, which lost to Tennessee in the NCAA championship game on Tuesday. It was completely inappropriate and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry.

On April 9, Imus appeared on Al Sharpton's syndicated radio talk show, Keepin' It Real with Al Sharpton, to address the controversy. Sharpton called the comments "abominable", "racist", and "sexist", and repeated his earlier demand that Imus be fired. Imus said, "Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far. Here's what I've learned: that you can't make fun of everybody, because some people don't deserve it."

The Rutgers basketball team held a news conference at which coach C. Vivian Stringer stated that the team would meet with Imus to discuss his comments. Several of the players expressed their outrage over his remarks. Team captain Essence Carson said Imus' remarks had "stolen a moment of pure grace from us".

On April 11, 2007, Steve Capus of NBC News, announced that MSNBC would no longer simulcast Imus in the Morning, effective immediately. The next day, CBS Radio canceled Imus in the Morning, effective immediately. CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves stated:

From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent. There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society. That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision.  Moonves had met with Sharpton and Jesse Jackson shortly before the announcement was made.

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