FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – In my CBS 11 office, I have two pictures of radio personality Don Imus: one of his famous WNBC publicity photo from the 1970s and one from WFAN (formerly WNBC) from about 15 years ago. Imus is no doubt one of the most successful American radio personalities in history, but much of his success is due to his longtime sidekick, Charles McCord.
McCord was born in Joplin, Missouri in 1943. He started his radio career in Springfield, Missouri, but later moved to WFAA 570/820 in Dallas. After Dallas, he moved to Washington D.C. to WWDC/WTOP before landing at WNBC in New York in the early ’70s. In addition to being a newscaster on WNBC, he also was on the NBC Radio Network show “Monitor.” During this time, he started his career as the longtime (and long-suffering!) sidekick to Imus.
WNBC was sold during the mid 1980s, dropped its music format, changed call letters to WFAN, and became all-sports… except for the “Imus in the Morning” show, which was a talk show with a bend toward politics and current events. After Imus left WFAN and went to WABC, McCord joined him over there. He had the same duties as with WFAN: news reporting and, more importantly, writing all of the comedy skits that made the show a huge success.
Other members of the Imus cast included Larry Kenney and Rob Bartlett, who did a lot of voice impressions and would dress up as various personalities, such as Dr. Phil McGraw. McCord was typically the straight guy on-air that kept things going smoothly, but occasionally would get a little upset with his host!
During this time, the radio show was televised live on MSNBC and later the FOX Business Network.
Charles would every now and then talk about his wife, Connie, who owned a travel agency, Tips For Trips (promoting trips to Bermuda), plus a dog of theirs who was a participant in the annual Westminister Kennel Club show.
In April 2011, Charles announced his retirement after 48 years in radio. If there was ever a perfect radio voice, it was the one belonging to Charles McCord. One of the funniest moments is what I call a “Charles McCord Meltdown,” when he becomes angry with Imus discussing the book “Whittaker Chambers” by Sam Tanenhaus. (Chambers was the subject of espionage in the 1950s, during the Cold War.)
Take a look at this Imus flashback and see Charles at his finest!