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CNBC's Deutsch: Don Imus' Future Will Depend on Advertisers

Radio personality Don Imus appears on Rev.Al Sharpton's radio show, in New York Monday April 9, 2007. Imus issued another apology for referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" on his morning show last week. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew
Radio personality Don Imus appears on Rev.Al Sharpton's radio show, in New York Monday April 9, 2007. Imus issued another apology for referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" on his morning show last week. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

CNBC's Donny Deutsch, the host of "The Big Idea" and self-described "ad sherpa, says that sponsorship, more than politics, may spell the professional doom of radio host Don Imus.

Speaking on "Power Lunch," Deutsch talked about Imus' comments about the Rutgers University womens' basketball team with Sue Herera. Deutsch said "what really matters" is when the advertisers weigh in. "It's about money."

Deutsch gave an example: "The CEO of Budweiser [brewer Anheuser-Busch] gets letters saying, 'we'll boycott' if" Imus returns to the airwaves after his agreed-upon two-week suspension. He said the likely response is simply the show's sponsors declaring, 'I don't need this headache' -- and pressuring the radio and TV stations to keep Imus off the air.

As to other so-called "shock jocks,"such as Sirius Satellite Radio's Howard Stern, Deutsch says it's a matter of expectation--and delivery. "It's a cantankerousness versus a meanness."

One gets a sense of silly "folly" from Stern, said Deutsch -- but Imus strikes him as just plain "mean."

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  • Sue Herera is a founding member of CNBC, helping to launch the network in 1989. She is co-anchor of "Power Lunch."

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