John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been noticeably absent from their 6 p.m. nightly KTLA-TV newscast, "Driving it Home with John and Ken," following their suspension for calling the late Whitney Houston a "crack ho" on February 16. The "Driving it Home" page on KTLA's website has not been updated since February 15.
The hosts, who returned from their week-long suspension on February 27, participate in the daily simulcast with KTLA at 6:40 p.m. But according to the Los Angeles Times, the hosts' remarks about Houston "may have cost them their nightly gig at KTLA-TV Channel 5. The team was missing Wednesday from its usual nightly simulcast spot during KTLA's 6 p.m. newscast, and sources say they have been absent from the newscast all week." A Media Matters review of this week's John & Ken broadcasts show that no KTLA simulcasts have occurred since the hosts returned to their KFI show.
KTLA executives declined to comment about Kobylt and Chiampou, according to the Times.
However, a spokesman for Kobylt and Chiampou told LA Weekly that the hosts' absence from KTLA has been a result of "scheduling issues with the cameraman this week" and not related to the remarks made about Houston. No mention of these scheduling issues has been made during this week's broadcasts of The John & Ken Show.
One KTLA personality, though, recently slammed Kobylt and Chiampou over their latest remarks. Sam Rubin, KTLA's entertainment reporter, called the duo "[p]osers [and] provocateurs who will say anything and do anything to whip up anger, to portend outrage." He also criticized KFI for allowing the hosts to remain on the air:
RUBIN: I've made my feelings about John and Ken very clear. They're extremely successful, they're very popular, and they are in my view, fakes. Posers, provocateurs who will say anything and do anything to whip up anger, to portend outrage, and to get and keep listeners and to make money. And in my view, none of what they do is really about the public good or changing the political climate, and all of it is about money. And that's why calling Whitney Houston a prostitute who uses drugs a mere three days after she died doesn't get John and Ken fired, it just gets them suspended. Because they make much too much money for their radio station.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), which has spearheaded a campaign to strip The John & Ken Show of its advertisers, has called on KTLA to end its daily segment with Kobylt and Chiampou. In a statement to LA Weekly, NHMC president Alex Nogales stated: "We're asking [KTLA station president] Don [Corsini] not to bring them back on because they're not legitimate journalists. They're hate purveyors."
Previously, The John & Ken Show has come under fire for inflammatory remarks regarding Native Americans,Hispanics, Korean-Americans, impoverished people, and members of the gay community. In September 2011, the hosts read the personal cell phone number of Los Angeles immigrant rights activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera on the air, which resulted in hateful voicemail messages and death threats.
According to the blog LAist, KFI issued a letter this week apologizing for the hosts' comments and outlining "additional programming and operating changes that will be long lasting and fruitful for the entire community."