Conservative talk radio hosts John & Ken are back on the air this week following a week-and-a-half suspension for calling the late Whitney Houston a “crack ho.”
A group of African Americans in broadcasting met with the duo yesterday and seem cool with the outcome, but in a statement the coalition said it wants to see more diversity at John & Ken's home station, KFI 640 AM, where it says 13 of 14 shows are hosted by white people. (L.A. is half Latino).
The dynamic duo apologized for the remark and, yesterday, one half of the pair, John Kobylt, told the black group that the Whitney Houston remark …
… was not meant as a racial comment. It really wasn't. [We were] getting amped up and crazy about celebrity and hypocrisy.
The folks who met with the duo and station executives, journalist and communications strategist Jasmyne Cannick, Los Angeles Urban League V.P. L. C. “Chris” Strudwick-Turner and radio veteran Dominique DiPrima, want to see more hiring of minorities at KFI.
The coalition is pressuring its parent company Clear Channel Communications to get with the program. They want KFI to put more African Americans on-air and behind the scenes. Cannick:
KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white males. There are no blacks in their newsroom. This fosters an environment where negative comments can happen. And they are not living up to [parent company] Clear Channel's statement of a commitment to diversity.
A recent UCLA study argued that John & Ken was plagued by anti-Latino hate speech. And the National Hispanic Media Coalition started a successful drive to get advertisers to pull out of the show because, it argued, John & Ken were anti-immigrant.
It's an interesting situation for KFI: Its bread-and-butter audience is conservative, white men.
Minority groups have for years pressured big media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times to reflect the diversity of the community they serve which, as we said, is half Latino and so-called majority minority.
But does that mean a station like KFI can't establish a niche for angry white men and xenophobes, which it clearly has?
Latinos have TV networks and newspapers that reflect them (niche as they are, with most in Spanish even though many of us don't speak it). Same with African Americans. (Still, these outlets are not necessarily mad or vehemently anti-white, but you get the picture).
So what's the deal? Can dumb white guys have a little AM radio station to call their own or not? It's certainly not for the rest of us.