CBS Radio Terminates Imus

NEW YORK CBS Radio today fired shock jock Don Imus, effective immediately.

The cancellation of Imus in the Morning comes a week after the talk host’s offensive comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team ignited a media firestorm.

“From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent,” said CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves in announcing the decision.

CBS reports that Imus’s WFAN/New York-based radio show was carried on 61 stations across the U.S via Westwood One.

MSNBC yesterday had cancelled its simulcast of the show.

Earlier this week, both MSNBC and CBS Radio suspended the show for two weeks beginning April 16 as a result of Imus’ remarks.

MSNBC said the decision to dump the show outright came as a result of an ongoing review process and discussions with its employees.

“What matters to us most is that the men and women of NBC Universal have confidence in the values we have set for this company. This is the only decision that makes that possible. Once again, we apologize to the women of the Rutgers basketball team and to our viewers. We deeply regret the pain this incident has caused,” MSNBC said in a statement.

Since Monday, the fallout from Imus’ remarks had snowballed, despite his repeated apologies. Several public figures, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, who had Imus on his radio show Monday, and Jesse Jackson, continued to call for the shock jock’s dismissal.

Advertisers spoke with their pocketbooks. The long list of marketers that suspended or pulled commercials from both MSNBC and the radio show included Procter & Gamble, American Express, Sprint Nextel, General Motors, Staples and GlaxoSmithKline.

“I don’t think Imus recovers from this on both a humanistic level and on a professional level. This now becomes his legacy. He’s done, in my opinion,” said Rich Russo, director of broadcast services at JL Media.

This story updates and replaces an item posted earlier today with the news that CBS has fired Imus.