Just three days after singer Whitney Houston passed away, KFI AM hosts John and Ken dismissed her as nothing more than a "crack ho." Nearly one month later, the LA city council is pondering whether to take an official stance against the slurs uttered that day.
Councilmembers will vote Wednesday on a resolution asking Clear Channel and KFI to "do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over airwaves."
The resolution states that the best way to combat racism at KFI is to hire more non-white individuals. It reads, "a truly diverse work environment must include the hiring of a work force that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles which includes women, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians."
Councilwoman Jan Perry wrote the March 7 motion, and the other two African American council members, Bernard C. Parks and Herb Wesson Jr., seconded it.
Highlighting KFI's lack of on-air diversity, Perry wrote, “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," NBC reports.
It's worth pointing out that even politically-correct LA public radio station, KPCC, needs to increase its on-air diversity. With all four of its public affairs program hosts being white, the station is currently in search of a Latino host to add to the station's morning program.
Despite some free speech concerns being raised online, the resolution is expected to pass. The question is whether the measure, without any real teeth, is just symbolic, as appeared to be the case with the city's boycott of Arizona businesses.
Even if it is just symbolic, Perry, Parks and Wesson may think the resolution is worth their time because of the influence that KFI has. Just last month, the station retained its top spot as the most-listened-to radio station in LA, with 1.46 million listeners per week, the Los Angeles Times reports. Despite being taken off the air from Feb. 16-27 for the offensive Houston remark, "The John and Ken Show" was the third most-listened-to show in the weekday 3-7 p.m. time slot.
UPDATE: The city council voted to approve the resolution, 13 to 2, Perry's press secretary told HuffPost. Council members Joe Buscaino and Mitchell Englander voted no. The council also included a "friendly amendment" from Council member Dennis Zine to extend the resolution to all LA radio and television stations.
The amendment urges "all management of radio and television stations in Los Angeles to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs," It also stated that "a truly diverse work environment must include the hiring of a work force that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles which including women, Black, Latinos, and Asians."
Listen to John and Ken's derogatory comments about Houston below. Warning: Offensive language is used.
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