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Friday, April 15, 2011

Don Imus newsman Charles McCord retiring after 48 years

4/14/11, "Don Imus wingman Charles McCord calling it quits after 48 years behind the mic: Sources," David Hinckley, NY Daily News

Several media sources said Thursday that Charles McCord, whose role on Imus's WABC radio and Fox Business Network morning shows has always gone far beyond his official position as newsman, is retiring after 48 years behind the microphone.

McCord's departure would alter the Imus show, where for over four decades Imus and McCord have developed

  • one of radio's longest lasting partnerships.

Sources indicated McCord could leave within the next two or three weeks.

McCord's replacement would likely come from Fox Business Network, whose staff Imus regularly integrates into his program. Among those who have sat in for McCord has been news anchor Connell McShane.

The rest of the Imus team - including producer Bernard McGuirk, engineer Lou Rufino, sportscaster Warner Wolf and comedians Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell - would remain.

McCord is leaving at a time when Imus' ratings have risen to new highs on radio while dipping on the TV side.

The Fox Business Network's morning numbers are down from last year, according to Nielsen, though Imus has remained in the ballpark with CNBC, which is Fox Business' main rival and is available in twice as many homes.

On WABC, his show was ranked No. 3 in the market in January. Imus' radio contract runs through Dec. 2, 2012.

He moved to WFAA in Dallas, then WWDC and WTOP in Washington before joining NBC in New York, where he did weekend news for "Monitor" and eventually moved to morning news for the crazy new guy on WNBC, "Imus in the Morning."

They developed a bond and McCord returned to Imus after his two major firings, from WNBC in 1977 and from WFAN/MSNBC in 2007. When Imus returned to WNBC in 1979, McCord helped Imus' evolution from comic shock jock to the bemused socio-political and pop culture commentator of today.

  • Imus has often said he and McCord talk almost nightly, exchanging observations and potential material.

On the air, McCord joins in the show's banter. He delivers the news between Imus' frequent interruptions and he is sometimes charged with putting Imus back on the rails.

He is also known to regular listeners for periodic blowups in which he demands Imus terminate some tedious obsession, like Whittaker Chambers."

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