T-Bone Walker could have had Imus in mind when he wrote “Call It Stormy Monday.” With Imus back on the air, it’s a stormy Monday and Tuesday will be just as bad. Wednesday will be worse and Thursday oh so sad.
While the eagle flies on Friday, Imus' guests and advertisers won’t fly with women concerned about the coarsening of the public’s airwaves. His guests this morning include Senators John McCain and Chris Dodd, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and James Carville and Mary Matalin (two faces made for radio).
During his absence, the radio industry has done nothing to cure one of the ailing roots of its Imus problem: the severe imbalance of women and men who work in radio. In 2007 it is still, shockingly, a man’s medium: at least 85 percent of radio managers and programmers are white men, as are the voices we hear over our publicly owned airwaves. Women and minorities own somewhere in the 3% range of radio stations. In a medium that seems to care little about its women listeners, it is no wonder that hosts find themselves crossing the line into sexism, or, in the Imus case, sexism and racism.
The Women’s Coalition for Dignity and Diversity in Media cares (disclosure: I’m a member). And we’re watching. We will blow the whistle on anyone who, in the name of "redemption" or “second chance,” shows up.