Wading into free speech, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a resolution asking Clear Channel and KFI 640 AM's management to quash racist or sexist slurs on its public airwaves.
The resolution stems from comments made by KFI talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the “John and Ken Show” who, three days after Whitney Houston died last month, referred to the pop music icon as a “crack ho.”
The comments led to a public outcry, a seven-day suspension for the hosts and a public apology.
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"They brought Latinos, African Americans, native Americans, women's groups - everyone together around this particular issue," said Jasmyne Cannick, of the Black Media Alliance, who urged the council to pass the resolution.
Station officials have promised to diversify their staff and add more minority hosts at the station where conservative hosts often rail against taxes and illegal immigration.
The station has 1.5 million listeners during any given weekday.
Last year, the National Hispanic Media Coalition said that it targeted the show's advertisers to urge them to stop backing the program.
The City Council’s action came on the eve of Women’s History Month, and after syndicated talk show host Rush Limbaugh, also broadcast on KFI, referred to Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, as a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying on Capitol Hill about women’s access to contraception.
“It is our belief that corporate action must start at the top,” Councilwoman Jan Perry wrote in her motion March 7, which was seconded by the Council’s two other African American council members, Bernard C. Parks and Herb Wesson Jr.
“Clear Channel Media Holding’s commitment to diversity is not being realized at its flagship station KFI 640 AM, where out of 15 on-air personalities, one is a female and none of them are African American," Perry added. "The derogatory language used by some radio personnel has no place on public airwaves."
Clear Channel Los Angeles and KFI responded with the following: We "support the LA City Council resolution regarding the need for diversity of personnel, inclusionary programming, and appropriate on-air language across all media."