Radio host Imus returns after firing

Mon Dec 3, 2007 1:02pm EST
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By Robert MacMillan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Radio personality Don Imus returned to the airwaves on Monday promising to keep his edgy tone but refrain from the kind of racist and sexist comments that got him fired earlier this year.

"We now have the opportunity to have a better program, to obviously diversify the cast... but the program is not going to change," Imus said at the start of his new daily radio show on Citadel Broadcasting Corp's ABC Radio Networks.

Imus's return comes nearly eight months after CBS Radio fired him and shut down his program for referring to the predominantly black members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy headed hos," a phrase combining a derogatory term for coarse, curly hair with slang for whore.

"I will never say anything in my lifetime that will make any of these young women regret or feel foolish that they accepted my apology or forgave me," said Imus, who referred to his earlier remarks as "reprehensible."

The show added a black woman and a black man to the cast -- comedians Karith Foster and Tony Powell -- along with regular sidekicks Rob Bartlett and Charles McCord.

"I can only wait and see if his deeds will follow up his words," said civil rights leader Al Sharpton, who led the charge for Imus' dismissal in April. "Imus marginalized himself as the picture of hate talk radio."

"Imus in the Morning" previously was produced and broadcast by the CBS-owned WFAN radio station in New York, and was syndicated on some 60 stations and simulcast on MSNBC cable television.

The new "Imus in the Morning" will run from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. EST on weekdays. The show will be based out of New York City's 77WABC, one of 243 Citadel stations.   Continued...

<p>Radio personality Don Imus talks on air during his return to radio in New York, December 3, 2007. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>