The controversial hosts of Los Angeles-area radio program The John & Ken Show have been back on the air for more than two weeks following their suspension for inflammatory comments about late singer Whitney Houston, but there is still no sign of them on L.A.'s KTLA-TV.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) said Monday that KTLA has not aired its daily "Driving it Home with John and Ken" segment since John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou -- hosts of KFI-AM's The John & Ken Show -- returned from being suspended by KFI after calling Whitney Houston a "crack ho" and wondering why her death "took this long."
NHMC stated in its March 12 press release:
Today the Take John and Ken Off the Air campaign celebrates a victory. For two weeks KTLA News' daily segment, "Driving it Home With John and Ken," has been off the air. This, after the campaign encouraged thousands of people to call Don Corsini, KTLA President and General Manager, and urge him to be a responsible broadcaster and drop the hatemongers from the local news program. We applaud him and his management team for doing the right and moral thing.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) also leads the "Take John and Ken Off the Air" campaign, which commenced in October of 2011 and has been joined by over 40 national and local organizations. The campaign has mobilized over 15,000 people to sign petitions asking Clear Channel to drop John and Ken. Clear Channel briefly suspended John and Ken in February after they referred to Whitney Houston as a "crack ho," but the duo returned to Clear Channel after less than two weeks off. Clear Channel has ignored the community's request that it be a responsible broadcaster and remove hate and divisiveness from its public airwaves, despite that eighteen major corporations have promised to no longer advertise on "The John and Ken Show," and dozens of other advertisers have quietly dropped the show without making a formal commitment.
If the recent controversy surrounding Clear Channel veteran Rush Limbaugh's recent remarks teaches us anything, it is that people -- and responsible advertisers -- are fed up with Clear Channel using its dominance in the radio market to push hate and extremism over the public airwaves.
"The time is ripe for the public to reclaim its public airwaves from irresponsible broadcasters that opt for trafficking hate for the sake of profit," said Alex Nogales, National Hispanic Media Coalition President & CEO.
Kobylt and Chiampou returned to their radio show on February 27, but the duo have been noticeably absent from their 6 p.m. nightly KTLA newscast, prompting speculation about their status on the network. On February 29, a spokesman for Kobylt and Chiampou told LA Weekly that the hosts' absence from KTLA had been the result of "scheduling issues with the cameraman" and was not related to the remarks made about Houston. KTLA executives have declined to comment.
NHMC had previously called on KTLA to end its daily segment with Kobylt and Chiampou. In a March 1 statement to LA Weekly, 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."
Prior to the comments about Whitney Houston, 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.
NHMC has been leading an effort to strip The John & Ken Show of its advertisers in response to the hosts' repeated offensive and inflammatory remarks. The organization's "Take John and Ken Off The Air" campaign has resulted in more than 20 companies -- including AT&T, Verizon, and General Motors -- to stop advertising during the program.
Following the Whitney Houston incident, KFI issued a letter to the community apologizing for the hosts' comments and outlining "additional programming and operating changes that will be long lasting and fruitful for the entire community." The letter also vowed that Kobylt, Chiampou, and "key staff and management" would participate in "cultural sensitivity training."