"Imus in the Morning" on KLAC-AM Radio!

Radio's original bad boy took the radio world by storm when he arrived in New York to host WNBC's morning show in 1971. His lightning wit, powerful radio voice and outrageous phone manner earned him heaps of scorn and adulation. Life magazine even speculated that the I-man might someday fill then-"Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson's shoes. The "Imus in the Morning Show" is now broadcast on WFAN in New York and carried by 80-plus stations nationwide. L. A. Radio Guide caught up with Don Imus before his L.A. debut the second week of July on KLAC AM 570.

RG: Do you know the competition out here?
Imus: No. Who's out there?

RG: Robert W. Morgan...
Imus: I love the way he talks up those intros. Morgan and I have been friends for 20 years.

RG: You're from California, aren't you?
Imus: I was born in Riverside and raised in Southern California and Arizona.

RG: What about Kevin and Bean, Howard Stern ...
Imus: Why would I care about that? We'll be No. 1 in three weeks -- OK, three years, OK, 30 years. I don't give a f___ about all this. No one who has been listening to Robert W. Morgan is going to stop listening and listen to me, or Stern or any of those other people. We'll find an audience there eventually. It's an acquired taste. Some people think it sucks; other people don't.

RG: You're going to be on an adult standards station...
Imus: What the f____ does that mean? We're on a sports station in New York; it doesn't make any difference. We're on a jazz station in Minneapolis. We're on a bunch of classic rock stations around the country.

RG: Are you excited about being in L.A.?
Imus: We're on every place else in California. We're on in Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, Palm Springs, San Diego, Riverside, San Berdoo...

RG: This is a big political year coming up. Are you going to be involved? You made huge waves with your guest appearance at that dinner with the Clintons.
Imus: We're going to do what we normally do. We're very happy to be on in L.A.

RG: Is there any adjustment that you would make to your show, because you're on in L.A.? More traffic reports?
Imus: No. We do the show the way they do the "Today Show." It allows KLAC to do whatever the f___ they want to do 20 minutes an hour, so they can have time for their traffic updates, their Rodney King beating updates...

RG: What do think about Southern California?
Imus: It's a Third World country, isn't it? That's what Morgan says.

RG: There is a huge thing about the border here, Prop 187...
Imus: Do they have radios?

RG: Did you know that the No. 1 station is a Hispanic station?
Imus: I know that. Even though Stern and I work for the samecompany [Infinity Broadcasting], it's not the same audience. Anyone who listens to Stern is not going to listen to me. I would say the same would be true for someone who listens to Rick Dees or Mark and Brian. You have to read the newspaper.

RG: There were some rumors before that you were going to come to L.A. -- maybe on KIIS-AM.
Imus: I don't get involved with that, but I know it's about money. The show, like Stern's show and my show -- they charge money for them, an enormous amount of money. For example, Boston pays a million dollars a year for this program. D.C. pays a half million. This is the 83rd market we're going in. The local radio-TV guys, sometimes, they f___ ing hate us. Either that or they like us. And the audience that is listening to the radio station is horrified. Often, I sit down with the GMs, and I explain the following to them: 'The reason you're getting all these calls is people are pissed off. The people who are listening to your station like it. There are just not enough of them listening. But the ones who are calling you, they were happy with what you were doing, so they don't want to hear some punk on the radio from New York. They don't want to hear that.

RG: Do you think you might come out here?
Imus: Probably, because we go all over. We just did a whole goober tour to Memphis, Little Rock and Wichita, Bramson and Raleigh, as a trailer park goober tour.

RG:Do you think that you are going to get involved in California politics?

Imus: We weren't heavily involved in the governor's race. I was a big Kathleen Brown supporter.

RG: You skew a bit conservative.
Imus: We have as many Republicans as Democrats. I'm nonpartisan. Everyone gets hammered. I don't have any real agenda. We're not trying to get people elected; it's not that kind of deal.

RG: How about some of the characters you created who made your show famous: the Rev. Billy Sol Hargus... Are they still on the show?
Imus: No, there is a lot of different parts. You have to listen.

RG: We're excited to have you out here.
Imus: It will be fun. It will take a while to find an audience. It took two years in Washington. Some places it happens quickly, and some places it takes some time.

RG: You know this is the No. 1 market in terms of money made by radio stations.
Imus: The station I am on in New York is the No. 2 billing station in the country, behind WGN in Chicago. We'll do well there; we're not going to be No. 1. Everyone understands that.

RG: How long has it taken you to get on in L.A.?
Imus: They have been negotiating off and on for about a year or so. It's the old Joseph Heller deal where the station has to be in a situation where they need to do this.

RG: They told me at the station [KLAC] the morning was their weakest day-part.
Imus: They also have to come up with money to pay for it.

RG: Now you're working with Chancellor [owns KLAC]...
Imus: Great outfit, I am told. They are coming in next week to shoot the sh___.

RG: What kind of venue do you think you'll come to?
Imus: Is the Ranch Market still there on Vine in Hollywood? When I was trying to make it in the record business back in the '60s, I used to sleep behind a dryer near the Ranch Market and go around looking for money in phone booths and stand near the heaters they have there and drink coffee and doughnuts. Or the Farmer's Market at Third and Fairfax.

Imus: That's still there. ?