Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don Imus on Fox Business?

It appears that Don Imus is in "advanced talks" with the Fox Business Network about being a part of its morning team with his radio program being simulcasted on the News Corp network. The network has tried to weaken expectations, stating that they have many conversations with many media personalities, but the talks with Imus seem to be further down the road. Imus is a controversial figure who has been known for his racial rants and also his profound philanthropy. Every person I have met that I have discussed Imus with fall in two camps, they either love his honesty and his generosity or they hate him and think he is a blow hard. In this culture these are among the essential elements of a successful media personality.

If Imus is added he will be on from 6 am to 9 am and the addition will affect current programs. The LA Times notes "Imus' show would replace current programming, which now includes 'Fox Business Morning,' hosted by Connell McShane and Jenna Lee, and 'Money for Breakfast,' anchored by Alexis Glick and Eric Bolling. Nielsen Media Research does not yet release public ratings for Fox Business, which is now available in about 50 million homes." Currently he is on RFD, which seems to be having a difficult time paying its bills (including Imus) and has virtually no footprint. Imus and his strong populist roots (which fits in nicely with Fox Business' desire to be an alternative to its more "elitist" competitors) and the incredible Fox brand could be an impressive "one two punch" and put the business channel on the media map. There are, however, many questions surrounding the deal:

  • How will Imus "fit" on a business show? His show isn't about business, but there are ways they can make it more business like. They will, of course, have a crawl on the bottom of the screen with business news and probably put additional information on side boxes. Furthermore there are designated breaks during his radio broadcast that I'm sure Fox will use to promote important business news.

  • What about that time of day? The show would run from 6 am until 9 am EST right up to the opening bell. For many, this is a great opportunity to find out what happened over night in foreign markets and to interview those who might make a play on the day's business news. It is the end of this type of programming that makes some think Fox is throwing in the towel. The reality is, that information can also be conveyed with crawlers.

  • What is the biggest benefit for Fox Business to having Imus on the network? He has access to millions of listeners who will hear about the Fox Business brand every day on his program. Furthermore, he is a major name in the radio industry.

So, would Don Imus be good for Fox Business? It is hard to say, but both TV and radio are "numbers" games and Imus certainly has the eyes and ears that the Fox Business Network would love to have watching its network.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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