FRED IMUS PASSES AWAY AT 69
Fred Imus, the brother of national radio and television personality Don Imus, and a prominent radio figure in his own right, died at his home in Tucson over the weekend.
Imus was a semi-regular guest on his brother's show, and was introduced originally to audiences in the 1990s while operating his Auto Body Express business in El Paso, Texas, and later Santa Fe, N.M. His ornery, quick wit matched his brother's persona, and the occasional segments became very popular.
The Imus radio program has aired on KJLL AM 1330 since the 1990s, and shortly after Fred moved to Tucson, in late 2003, the station approached him to co-host a show. That foray, Out West, aired for about two years, and in May 2006, a new incarnation of the program started a weekly run on satellite radio.
His body was reportedly found after he didn't show up for the broadcast last week.
"He was a great curmudgeon and a super guy," said fellow KJLL alum John C. Scott. "... Fred was an incredibly kind and very funny guy. It's sad."
The Don Imus Show featured "Best of Fred Imus" moments during its Monday, Aug. 8, broadcast. Outlaw Country Sirius XM Channel 60 plans a four-hour memorial tribute, which will air Saturday, Aug. 13, at 3 a.m.; Sunday, Aug. 14, at 7 a.m.; and again Sunday night at 11.
'STAR' CHANGES POLICIES FOLLOWING PEDERSEN CASE
Prior to its 52-person layoff last month, the Arizona Daily Star decided it was wise to waste reams of paper and hours of labor to make changes to a policy it says it didn't need to change. Management then had every employee in the building sign off on that "unnecessary" policy change.
The issue stemmed from a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by 11-year employee Brian Pedersen. Pedersen was released from the crime beat after some Twitter posts got him in hot water. Pedersen lost the wrongful-termination case, but during meetings with the National Labor Relations Board, he contended that the Star had no written policy relating to appropriate conduct involving employee use of Twitter accounts.
The Star, in a memo to employees dated July 5, claimed it did nothing wrong, yet changed the policies in question due to litigation expenses. The memo also singled out Pedersen's role in the process.
"I am sharing the information in this letter with you because it is a matter of public record and because the former employee involved has chosen to be public about his complaints in social and other media forums," said Star editor Bobbie Jo Buel in the memo, obtained by the Tucson Weekly. "Brian Pedersen went to the National Labor Relations Board to contest his discharge. His allegations were dismissed. He appealed the dismissal, and his appeal was denied. He also complained about four of our Handbook policies.
"We decided to try to resolve the claims about the Handbook to avoid unnecessary litigation. While we believed our Handbook provisions were lawful, in the spirit of compromise and resolution, we, on our own, on April 28, 2011, rescinded the complained-about Handbook provisions and issued new ones."
The adjusted provisions focus on policies relating to confidentiality, protection of sensitive data, statements to the public, and solicitation and distribution of material.
"In spite of our best efforts to resolve the matter, the National Labor Relations Board scheduled a hearing for June 28 about the four Handbook provisions," the memo continues. "On that day, the administrative law judge scheduled to hear the case did not see a reason for a trial. He noted that the company had already rescinded the policies. The lawyer for Region 28 of the NLRB in Phoenix resisted the settlement, but the judge unilaterally approved our proposed settlement. Mr. Pedersen told the judge he was satisfied with the settlement reached. The settlement acknowledged that the complained-about Handbook provisions had already been rescinded and that a new Handbook is available for employees to view."
The Star required employees to sign off on the new provisions by July 22—the day after it blew out the 52 staff members. Hopefully it got that valuable paperwork before escorting them out the door.
"I just find it amusing that, if I was such an inconsequential and unimportant employee that was so easily fireable and wasn't worth holding onto, the Star still finds it necessary to bring my name up to my former co-workers, and in a negative manner," said Pedersen via e-mail.
CUILLIER NAMED INTERIM HEAD OF UA JOURNALISM SCHOOL
David Cuillier has moved into the top spot at the UA School of Journalism in a temporary capacity, replacing Jacqueline Sharkey.
Cuillier, a former reporter and editor at papers in the Pacific Northwest, has been lauded in teaching circles. He landed the award as the most promising professor in the country by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and has garnered research-excellence and dissertation accolades.
In her 11 years at the helm, Sharkey improved the department's standing. Instead of being the Department of Journalism, it is now the UA School of Journalism. Under her watch, the program increased the number of full-time faculty, reopened the graduate program, deepened the program's relationship with The New York Times, expanded the interdisciplinary International Journalism program, and established the interdisciplinary Science Journalism program.
Sharkey will return to teaching, and will start with a year-long research hiatus.
"I have been thinking for quite some time that this summer might be an ideal time for a transition," said Sharkey in a UA press release. "With his academic and professional credentials, David is an ideal person to take over leadership of the school at this time."