NEW YORK (AP) – Shock jock Don Imus, the Rasputin of radio, will return to the airwaves Dec. 3 after eight months of well-paid “unemployment” created by a racist and sexist remark that once seemed certain to permanently silence his broadcasting career.

Citadel Broadcasting Corp. made the announcement Thursday, confirming long-rumored reports that Imus was coming back to morning drive time on New York-based WABC-AM in the same city where he was banished in April.

The cantankerous Imus was fired April 12 by CBS Radio amid a firestorm of controversy over his “nappy-headed hos” remark about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

“We are ecstatic to bring Don Imus back to morning radio,” said 77 WABC President and General Manager Steve Borneman.

“Don’s unique brand of humor, knowledge of the issues and ability to attract big-name guests is unparalleled. He is rested, fired up and ready to do great radio.”

Imus will return with his longtime newsman, Charles McCord, and other members of his morning team, Citadel said in announcing the move. It did not specifically mention Bernard McGuirk, the producer who instigated Imus on the Rutgers comment and was fired as well.

No financial details were made public in the four-paragraph announcement of Imus’ return. Imus’ attorney, Martin Garbus, confirmed the deal, but did not elaborate on the details.

There was also no word on syndication or any television deal for the Imus show. His “Imus In the Morning” program aired on more than 70 stations and the MSNBC cable network.

Imus will replace the morning team of Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby on the Citadel Broadcasting-owned station. The pair had hosted the WABC drive-time show for nearly eight years, and Kuby said he was told Thursday afternoon not to show up for work today.

“I’ve had a fantastic, great run,” Kuby said. “Our show has enjoyed the best audience – intelligent, compassionate, decent and kind. The new owners don’t want that kind of show.”

Imus’ resurrection is hardly unprecedented in his four-decade career. The veteran DJ has emerged intact in the past after assorted firings, bad publicity, a high-profile drug and alcohol addiction and a disastrous appearance at a Washington dinner before President Clinton.

Then the acid-tongued broadcasting icon was fired in April after his remark about the Rutgers team sparked a national furor and calls by civil rights leaders and broadcast journalists for him to resign.


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