*Rain or shine, Whitney Houston fans are expected to protest the return of Los Angeles radio shock jocks John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the “John and Ken Show” on Clear Channel’s KFI 640 AM today after a 9 day suspension for referring to Whitney Houston as a “crack ho.”
Organizers are pointing to their comments about Whitney Houston but also sounding the alarm on the history of John and Ken’s racism towards blacks as well as what they feel is an atmosphere at Clear Channel and KFI where it’s okay and hosts are encouraged to refer to black women not only as hos, but TSA airport screeners, postal workers, and DMV workers as fat, black, and lazy and where each week an hour is dedicated to making to fun of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The duo is set to return to broadcasting live from Clear Channel’s KFI studios in Burbank Monday, February 27, 2012 at 3 p.m.
Several groups of community activists have been organizing a protest of the return of the shock jocks who when talking about reports of Houston’s odd behavior before her death, said: “It’s like, ‘Ah Jesus . . . here comes the crack ho again, what’s she gonna do.”
The duo talked about Houston’s past drug problems, at one point saying she was “cracked out for 20 years.”
“I’m taking off from work to be there because I loved Whitney Houston,” added 28 year-old Erica Bennet. “It’s that important to me as a black woman to be there and stand in solidarity with my sisters, brothers, and all of Whitney’s fans. We owe her at least that much as well as ourselves to let these guys know you can’t just call a black woman a crack ho and come back to work like everything’s okay because it’s not.”
Kobylt and Chiampou, known professionally as John and Ken, have hosted the four-hour weekday radio show from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., on KFI AM 640 in Southern California since 2001. The program is the most listened to local talk radio program in the United States: in the peak hour of their daily broadcasts, they draw an estimated audience of approximately 1.1 million listeners. According to Talkers Magazine estimates, they are the only local radio show with more than one million listeners. In addition, they have a regular segment on KTLA-TV during the 6 p.m. newscast.
The duo was named one of the 100 most influential people in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times in 2006.
Fans of the late Whitney Houston are being asked to meet up outside of the KFI studios at 3400 West Olive Avenue in Burbank, Calif., rain or shine on Monday, February 27 at 3 p.m.
John and Ken’s “Kill Tookie Hour”
“John and Ken have a long history of hating on black people,” commented Marcus Williams of South L.A. who plans to attend. “Here in Los Angeles, we’ll never forget how they hosted the Kill Tookie Hour in support of executing Stanley Tookie Williams. So the Whitney Houston comment is just another blow to blacks in a long line of negative and racist comments from John and Ken and really KFI and Clear Channel.”
In November 2005, the John and Ken Show designated 5 p.m. as the “Tookie Must Die Hour ” everyday Monday through Friday until Williams was executed on December 13, 2005.
John and Ken on Blacks and Muslims
Former KFI talk show host John Zeigler, a white male, detailed his own personal account of John and Ken’s racism on his then website, The Real KFI.
Zeigler publicly detailed a conversation between himself and John Kobylt during the break before his 6:50 p.m. teaser on September 11, 2006 where John referred to Blacks as being uncontrollable.
This time (on September 11th , 2006) when I went in to the studio for the 6:50 pm tease I was so irritated with what John was doing on 9/11 (and because he was alone with Ken gone) that I decided to ask him a respectful but pointed question about what he was saying on the air. During the commercial break, I asked him, “John, sincerely, as a professional, I would really like to know; are you taking this (new) position on the Iraq War because you really believe it or because you think it is best for ratings?”
John immediately dismissed my earnest inquiry by barking something to the effect of, “Ah, leave me alone!!” Then, after a few moments of quiet, he calmly made one of the most shocking statements I have ever heard someone in his position make. John Kobylt said to me, “Actually, it is what I really believe, because trying to control Muslims is like trying to control Black people… it will never happen…it’s not in their make up.”
(I contemporaneously told both my Program Director and General Manager about this statement and they didn’t seem to care. I also told my union leadership. This is not the only statement John has made that made me come to the conclusion that he is probably a racist.
KFI and the Fat, Black TSA Airport Screeners, DMV Employees, and Postal Workers
A subject that that has not only been as issue on the John and Ken show but on the Bill Handel Morning Show were black females are routinely referred to as the “fat black ladies in biker shorts,” “fat black postal workers,” “fat black DMV workers,” and “fat black TSA airport screeners.
“While this issue is about the John and Ken Show,” explains community activist and TSA screening agent Keisha Brown. “It’s also about the culture that’s been cultivated and supported by Clear Channel’s management. From Bill Handel in the mornings, John and Ken in the afternoons, and Tim Conway Jr. in the evening, black people in Los Angeles have been a steady target of KFI talk show hosts for decades and we’re tired. We’re tired of being called fat, black, and lazy on airwaves for ratings. We’re tired of being called crack hos on the air. I am not a ho.”
Brown says that she’s organizing her TSA colleagues to join the protest of Clear Channel and KFI.
What the Hell Did Jesse Jackson Say?
According to the stations website:
What The Hell Did Jesse Jackson Say? is a favorite segment and maintains a substantial cult following to this day (it’s the kind of stuff from which radio legend is made).
Play Southern California’s longest-running radio game show, What The Hell Did Jesse Jackson Say? Every Thursday night at 8. Only on Tim Conway, Jr. Only on KFI AM 640. Win ridiculously cheesy and insignificant prizes for correctly translating the quips of American civil rights activist and Baptist minister, the Reverend Jesse Jackson. So, gather your friends and play along at home, at the office or better yet, in a bar!
Fans of the late Whitney Houston are being asked to meet up outside of the KFI studios in Burbank, Calif., rain or shine on Monday, February 27 at 3 p.m.
The Twitter protest hashtag is #firejohnandken.
3400 West Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA 91505