Don Imus and the Kars4Kids Hot Mic Moment

Don Imus

Don Imus, controversial American radio personality, television show host, recording artist, and author, died in 2019. But not before he had a run in with Kars4Kids over a hot mic moment during a commercial break. It was 2010 and Kars4Kids was a sponsor of his show, Imus in the Morning. When the iconic jingle began to play, Imus, not realizing his mic was still on, begged the child singer of the Kars4Kids jingle to “shut up” and “go to hell.”

But Imus wasn’t done. While millions of viewers were tuned in and listening, the talk show host audibly groaned and said, “I should give you my Bentley—you morons,” “you morons” being Kars4Kids, his sponsor.

At the time, then Kars4Kids spokesman Clifford Meth said, “When we first decided to advertise on the Don Imus show, yeah, we were warned, you know. Don has said controversial things  . . . [but] he has the Don Imus Cattle Ranch [for children with cancer]. He’s helping kids, we’re helping kids. We share the same values.”

Known as the “shock jock,” Imus was often in trouble, sometimes for using drugs and alcohol, other times for defamatory speech, or simply for being “uncooperative.” Despite these marks against him, his radio shows often hit number one in ratings for the time slot, and in 1989, Imus was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. In short, good or bad, Imus made a name for himself.

As for us, we decided to follow in the path of P.T. Barnum, who said, “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me, as long as they spell my name right.”

In this case of course, it was a radio talk show host rather than a newspaper. But the principle is the same. We got some publicity over the to-do, which no doubt led to more donations. More donations, of course, means more resources to help even more children.

Imus apologized. On air. He even gave Kars4Kids a plug.

One year later, when came out with a new version of our jingle. Don Imus said some nice things about it on his show. Apparently, when we changed our tune, he changed his!

But we never did get that Bentley.

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