Pain in the ass and the Imus Factor

In another career (and life) in the early ‘70s I used to swing a boom microphone at Glenn-Warren Productions, which was housed at CFTO-TV in Toronto.

I worked on such dog classics as Trouble with Tracey, Famous Jury Trials and the Uncle Bobby Show (boom shadows by Dee). I was an audio techie on the Ian Tyson Show, Rolling on the River and a few musical specials such as a Perry Como Christmas offering.

We also did real classics, some for Hallmark, such as the remake of Harvey with James Stewart and something with Joanne Woodward. There was also Norman Corwin Presents, an anthology series for Westinghouse (if memory serves me correctly).

In that environment, you work (albeit at a little distance) with big-shot celebrities, of all sorts, whose egos tend to be the size of the universe. Mature stars tend to have learned to manage and suppress the usual outbursts and tantrums of the nouveau-star. But it is a given in the business that “the bigger the star, the bigger the pain in the ass.” There are only a very few exceptions.

In recent months, I have taken to watching the Imus in the Morning radio-on-TV show which originates most weekdays from MS-NBC, in New Jersey.

I would last two minutes working with this apparently moody, gun-toting, chauffer-driven Manhattan  cowboy – if the show’s edginess is not all just a universe-sized joke on us all.

I wonder why the MS-NBC floor director does not tell him to take his nicotine gum and insert the thing up his back-side cavity. Is the crew in on “it,” too? Lou is much too funny to be a real audio operator. If he is, he should get extra pay for the comedy.

It would take me less than two minutes and boom . . . I’d explode at this spoilt-brat broadcaster; but “the wife” says I’m a lot like Imus. Ouch!

Don’t misunderstand me. As a listener, I love the show . . . the cussing, calling up-coming guests “idiots,” kidding everything and everybody that moves, Cardinal Egan be-jesus and that Fed-Ex hat, Charles’ “pussy” sweaters, f’n-ugly or not news bunnies, Feets who wrote “For who them bells tole” and on and on.

“Why didn’t we have teachers like that f’n-gorgeous babe who did after-school physiology lessons with the 14-year-old?” The manager at Radio Station K-FART will be forever grateful for the name, I’m sure. How about doing some FA-R-R-R-R-R-T promos, Don, over the audio of a toilet flush?

Now, you have to understand that all radio-TV stars have bosses whom I call Station Managers. They’re all alike, whether they earn millions as the head of NBC or CBS or peanuts as the top dog at CHAB Radio in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. They all have a pain-receptor in their a-hole. They could not get the job otherwise.

The pain in the a-hole is directly proportional to whether an on-air personality insults in this order; advertisers, media owners and managers, politicians, broadcast regulators and everybody else. But there is a mitigating factor and that’s . . . ratings!

Station Managers I believed were trained, from birth, to suffer the a-hole pain to get the ratings. The trick is to suffer deep, excruciating, torturous agony while smiling. The guy at CHAB still screams when it really, really hurts and he then fires people.

I don’t know how Imus survives. Listeners by the billions on Mars and in all of China must be tuning in.

So I commissioned a $400,000 study at the Regina Institute of Advanced Genetics to determine how the Imus bosses do it – survive the pain. I have just received the report entitled “The ‘m’ chromosome pain relaxant as mitigated by the Imus Factor.”

It turns out that all Station Managers have an “m chromosome” that is affected by advertising income. It comes into play only when the ad-sales revenues reach an order of about $250,000 per 30-second spot. That shall henceforth be called the Imus Factor.

The report says the factor transforms the pain-receptor into a happiness-receptor that gives Station Managers ten times the thrill they experienced at the instant they lost their virginity, whether alone or with somebody.

The late Station Manager Dick Trotter (you’re fired Johnson) willed his whole receptor to the project. Thanks Dick. I always knew you were a super a-hole.