For All the Fury, Imus Not Popular: 25th in DC's Morning Drive & 20th Talker Nationally

Is Don Imus worth the fury? Lost in all the media attention focused on the “nappy-headed ho's” racial insult by radio host Don Imus last week directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team -- all three broadcast network evening newscasts led with multiple stories on it Tuesday night after it topped CBS and NBC on Monday night, to say nothing of the non-stop cable coverage -- is how few actually heard his remark live since his ratings are so low. Monday's USA Today pegged his MSNBC audience at 354,000 daily viewers in March, about half the 692,000 who tuned in FNC's Fox & Friends and about 1/17th the audience of about 6 million who view NBC's Today show.

And he doesn't do much better on the radio side. “Putting things in perspective,” Dave Hughes, on DCRTV.com, pointed out Tuesday that in Washington, DC, “despite all the Washington 'power players' he has on his show, and all the press he gets, almost no one inside (or outside) the Beltway listens to him. In the latest Arbitrends, Imus, via Clear Channel talker WTNT [570 AM], was tied for 25th place in morning drive with Fredericksburg country outlet WFLS [93.3 FM],” a station most in the DC area can't even receive. Nationally, a Talkers magazine analysis of Arbitron ratings in markets across the country, for the cumulative number of listeners per week in the fall of 2006, documented that at least 19 nationally syndicated radio talk hosts have an audience larger than does Imus. Though he's on in the morning drive, when the most people listen to the radio, his audience is just one-sixth of that of Rush Limbaugh.

The list of the top talkers from Talkers magazine, cumulative audience Monday-Sunday for those aged 12-plus, rounded to the nearest quarter-million:
1) Rush Limbaugh: 13.5 million

2) Sean Hannity: 12.5

3) Michael Savage: 8.25

4) Dr. Laura Schlessinger: 8

5) Laura Ingraham: 5

6) Glenn Beck
Neal Boortz
Mike Gallagher: 3.75

9) Jim Bohannon
Clark Howard
Mark Levin
Bill O'Reilly: 3.25

13) Bill Bennett
Jerry Doyle
Dave Ramsey
Ed Schultz
Doug Stephan: 3

18) Michael Medved
George Noory: 2.75

20) Dr. Joy Brown
Don Imus
Kim Komando
Jim Rome: 2.25
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center