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The longtime producer for Don Imus’ syndicated radio show joined his boss on the unemployment line one week after the disgraced broadcaster was booted from the airwaves for racist and sexist comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
Bernard McGuirk, who joined the “Imus in the Morning Show” as producer in 1987, was let go late Thursday by WFAN-AM for his role in the ugly incident, CBS Radio spokeswoman Karen Mateo said Friday. CBS Inc., the parent company for WFAN, pulled Imus off the air on April 12.
McGuirk was one of Imus’ frequent on-air foils, and was involved in the now-infamous “nappy-headed hos” exchange that left both without jobs. He provided much of the program’s dicier content, a great deal of it while doing over-the-top impressions of the late Cardinal John O’Connor and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
Imus, in an oft-repeated shtick, would deride McGuirk as a “bald-headed stooge” when the material veered into dangerous territory. McGuirk also handled the booking of Imus’ guests, a group that ran the gamut from presidential candidates to mainstream media pundits.
Mateo declined to provide any further details about the McGuirk situation. McGuirk was noticeably absent this week when other Imus contributors, including newsman Charles McCord and sportscaster Chris Carlin, were on the air with the WFAN replacement team of Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. Another Imus regular, comedian Rob Bartlett, appeared Friday on the Opie and Anthony morning show. But McGuirk has made no public comments about the controversy since the Imus firing.
CBS Radio had yet to decide on a permanent replacement for Imus on the New York station, Mateo said. Francesa and Russo were slated to do one more week of mornings in place of Imus, whose show was syndicated on 60 other stations nationally. WFAN was the flagship station for the Imus show.
It was McGuirk who first used the term “hos” while discussing the NCAA women’s championship game between Rutgers and Tennessee. Imus described the Rutgers team, which includes eight black women, as tattooed “rough girls” during the April 4 broadcast.
“Some hardcore hos,” replied McGuirk.
“That’s some nappy-headed hos there, I’m going to tell you that,” Imus said during the 10-second exchange that ignited a national debate over racist and misogynistic language and lyrics.
Imus was expected to meet with CBS Radio officials to settle the remainder of his recently signed five-year, multimillion-dollar contract. McGuirk’s contract status was unknown; he had joined the radio station in 1984, when it was WNBC.