Perhaps, according to a NY Post story yesterday: While celebrating the top-billing sports station's 20th anniversary last Friday, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, of "Mike and the Mad Dog" of WFAN-AM NY hinted that a deal to bring Imus back getting close.
"When we return to our regular schedule this September, I hope the team will once again be complete," Francesa said.
A few minutes before that, longtime Imus co-host Charles McCord also made a cryptic comment about having "looked into the rearview mirror…and some objects were closer than they appear."
Imus was fired in April for making a racist crack about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Imus' lawyer, Martin Garbus, has reportedly been trying to use his client's threatened 40 million dollar unjust firing/compensation lawsuit against CBS Radio as leverage for reinstatement, while CBS has prepared a countersuit that it plans to file the minute Imus starts the legal showdown. Tapes from Imus' show were featured all morning on Friday, as part of the station's 20-year celebration.
SmartMedia observation: If he does come back, and that still seems like a longshot, the right way to transition him in would be just like what they should have done in the first place-some issues coverage on racism and racist language; bring some guests and sports figures on to address the topic; get another charity like The United Negro College Fund. And be sincere this time from the start! People-and advertisers-can and do forgive.
We assume WFAN will be the test ground. If he's accepted by advertisers and audience, he might be able to build back to syndication and television. It will be a slow and unsure process, but it sure beats legal court battles with CBS for two years. Again, sincerity will be key.