KFI takes steps to correct ‘crack ho’ controversy
Black community advocates call response “unsatisfactory”
Members of the African American coalition were unimpressed after their meeting with KFI radio management seems to have turned out some unsatisfactory results.
This week the station released a memorandum apologizing once again for John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou’s inappropriate rant about the late Whitney Houston, specifically calling her a “crack ho.” The two are hosts of the station’s “John and Ken Show.”
In addition to the expression of remorse, KFI claimed that the station understands the outcry of the community and has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the incident doesn’t occur again, including adhering to some of the suggestions that the coalition of Black community advocates provided last week.
Here are the specific steps KFI’s management outlines in the memorandum:
1. John and Ken have apologized sincerely, on the air, for the insensitive comments made during their show last month. This apology was again echoed when John and Ken returned to the airwaves.
2. A representative from the coalition’s was invited to appear live on the John and Ken Show to discuss why the comments were particularly offensive to the African American community.
3. KFI will work with members of the community to update guidelines for its on-air hosts in a way that is helpful in a live unscripted environment. The station has already started this process and will share the policy with community leaders when it’s complete
4. John and Ken, along with key staff and management, will participate in cultural sensitivity training furthering their awareness of the cultural melting pot that is Southern California
5. On significant issues, KFI will capitalize on its web presence to share important links to other community websites making a variety of viewpoints available to our listeners.
6. KFI will expand on our successful internship program to target minority students.
7. Finally, the station is reviewing its talk formats and will find a platform for auditioning a diverse group of local hosts and guests. While plans are still developing, we anticipate creating unique programming to reflect important issues to our multicultural community. This will be great launching pad for identifying talent for future opportunities. Interested parties can contact the station at TalkProgrammingLA@clearchannel.com.
KFI identified these steps as a good starting point to begin righting the wrongs of the station and repairing its relationship with the diverse Los Angeles community.
However, that community, specifically the African American coalition that met with the KFI management team, feels these steps are not enough.
They offered this statement:
“KFI issued a flaccid response to a meeting at their Burbank offices with the coalition where key areas of concern over its hiring practices and diversity were presented to station management along with recommended solutions, including the hiring of African Americans and more women, this after two of its hosts referred to Whitney Houston as a ‘crack ho’ three days after her death.
“After reviewing KFI’s response and determining it to be 100 percent unsatisfactory, the coalition has decided that a more aggressive approach must now be deployed.
“Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, Muslims, and women’s groups will now be actively encouraged to join our efforts to put pressure on Clear Channel’s local and national advertisers. Traditional and new media will also be given regular updates on the status of our efforts. Our goal is to put an end, once and for all, to the racist and sexist diatribes poisoning the public airwaves on Clear Channel stations across the country. We are calling on local, state and federal officials to ask for public comment and hearings to bring these discriminatory practices to light.”