Legendary radio host Don Imus has passed away at the age of 79. 

Imus retired in 2018 after a decorated radio career. His show "Imus in the Morning" was broadcasted on RFD-TV from 2007-2018.

Rural Media Founder and President Patrick Gottsch credits Imus for helping get the network to where it is today. In 2007, before t-shirts with the RFD logo were ever sold, Imus was wearing one during an appearance on MSNBC.

"I didn’t know Don Imus. Never met him, nor ever had any contact with anyone that even knew him. Yet, here was the most influential man in the history of radio, with millions of listeners and viewers, broadcasting from his New York studios, touting RFD-TV every so often," Gottsch said. "The I-Man seemed to know everything about us, our program schedule, and the western lifestyle. Suddenly, cable companies that for years had been refusing to even take a meeting with our network were inviting us to their corporate offices to discuss a carriage deal. 'Oh, RFD-TV. You’re the guys that Imus has been talking about…'” 

Imus was rancher himself, establishing the headquarters of his family's charity efforts for children with cancer on a 3,000+ acre ranch in New Mexico. The land featured a greenhouse, rodeo arenas and a 25-stall horse barn.

The charity's goal was to provide children ages 10–17 with an experience of living life on a functioning cattle ranch free of charge, aiming to build their child's self-esteem and sense of accomplishment, in the company of children going through similar battles. 

The ranch was in operation from 1998-2014 and was later purchased by RFD-TV in 2017.

“The Imus family built something spectacular, from scratch, that is so well designed that the ranch can now be adapted for a wide variety of uses,” Gottsch said at the time of the purchase. 

Before his time at RFD-TV, Imus rose to fame on WNBC and WFAN in New York City, using his humor and quick wit when discussing media, politics and the news of the day to gain millions of fans. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989. 

He will always have a special place in our hearts at RFD-TV. 

"It is I that needs to thank Don Imus. You will never know how much this farm kid appreciates and respects you, and all that you and your family have done to support RFD-TV’s growth and spirit over so many years," Gottsch said. "And, on behalf of the entire western sports world, thank you for using your platform to be such a strong promoter of rodeo for so many years in the middle of urban America. I-man, you really look good wearing those cowboy boots and cowboy hat, not to mention that RFD-TV T-Shirt."

Don Imus will be honored on our float at the Rose Parade