Group says given the climate around Clear Channel’s host Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” and “prostitute” comment in regards to reproductive rights and the ensuing controversy, Handel’s comments couldn’t come at a worse time and blatantly puts on display Clear Channel and KFI’s complete lack of disregard for the sexist banter from their hosts
*LOS ANGELES – Friday, Mar. 9, at approximately 8:40 a.m. on Clear Channel’s flagship radio station KFI 640 AM, Bill Handel of the Bill Handel Morning Show, used the words “dumb ass women” while discussing Kansas’ new abortion law, House Bill 2598, which if passed, would require women to hear the fetal heartbeat before a procedure. Hinting that Handel’s regular shtick was now going to be a problem, Handel’s sidekicks including Gary Hoffman host of “The Sunday Morning News” and Neil Saavedra, Clear Channel Los Angeles’ Marketing Director and on-air talk show host for “The Fork” and “The Jesus Christ Show”, told Handel live on the air that he’d just “stepped in it once again.”
Listen to Clear Channel Host Bill Handel’s comments here.
Handel’s “dumb ass women” quip comes as Clear Channel is already under intense local fire from Black, Latino andAsian groups, as well as national scrutiny from organizations like the National Organization of Women (NOW), after their number one syndicated host Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” These misogynistic, bullying remarks were unapologetically advanced a mere 48 hours after John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the “John and Ken” Show, also a Clear Channel entity, returned from an unpaid seven-day suspension for referring to pop music icon Whitney Houston as a “crack ho” three days after the legendary singer’s death.
The Black Media Alliance (BMA) points out that when asked why Clear Channel’s KFI hosts John and Ken Show,” during a Feb. 27 meeting with Saavedra, Greg Ashlock, Clear Channel LA Market Manager and KFI Program Director Robin Bertolucci, Ms. Bertolucci replied, “because they crossed the line.” When asked what that line was, Ms. Bertolucci’s response was, “it’s very difficult to define but you know it when you hear it.”
In response to Handel’s comments, the BMA said the following:
The line was crossed yet again on Clear Channel’s number one radio station in the second largest media market in the country, Los Angeles’ KFI 640 AM. And again this “imaginary line” keeps being crossed at the expense of women.
Once again, the line has been crossed without any statement from KFI management or repercussions like those sustained by John and Ken. Obviously Clear Channel doesn’t see a problem attacking woman and minorities, because their non-action is speaking much louder than their “We Are Listening” press release sent out to various media outlets Mar. 1, in response to station criticism.
Given the climate around Clear Channel’s host Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” and “prostitute” comment in regards to reproductive rights and the ensuing controversy, Handel’s comments couldn’t come at a worse time and blatantly puts on display Clear Channel and KFI’s complete lack of disregard for the sexist banter from their hosts.
Diversity and sensitivity training is not the answer. We are insisting that Clear Channel suspend without pay Rush Limbaugh over his comments as well as BillHandel, and to develop, define, and put into place written policy and procedures that draws the line for their talk show hosts and programming directors, so that when they “hear it,” they know it and the proper action is taken including a media statement in the form of a press release where KFI as station condemns the hosts comments.
These pervasive, sustained attacks on women are offensive to women and men alike, irrespective of political ideology and it’s extremely difficult to have a meaningful conversation about diversity when the indefensible continues to be defended by the silence of Clear Channel and KFI management. Unless and until this happens, BMA is asking all local businesses in the Southern California area to rethink their radio advertising strategy at KFI and all Clear Channel stations.
Talkers.com, “The Bible of Talk Radio and New Talk Media”, recently pointed out in their Mar. 7 online edition the issue many companies are grappling with:
“Almost a week into the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke controversy the consumer media, politicians and even the media trades to some extent are still awash in writing about Limbaugh’s mistake, the coarsening of our media political discourse and even allegations that conservative talk radio, apparently, hates women. But TALKERS is hearing reports from ad rep firms that are more alarming – especially in these already shaky economic times. That is that major advertisers are issuing yet another round of “no controversial programming” dictates.
This is not a new problem for talk radio and the recent Limbaugh case is likely only to add fuel to a fire that’s been simmering for the past 20 years. While no laws were broken by Rush Limbaugh, advertisers who fear backlash from activists, parent’s organizations and other groups – even though talk hosts with loyal followings that are likely to buy their products or services help sell those products or services very successfully – don’t want to risk bad PR, protester harassment or outright boycotts from being associated with a “controversial” talk media figure.
They reason that there may be many more customers of theirs whom they don’t want to alienate who don’t listen to “controversial” talk radio, so they shy away from the genre altogether. The bigger challenge facing talk radio right now is not defending its programming, but selling it in this turbulent climate.”
KFI AM 640 is Clear Channel’s number one AM radio station in the country in theNews/Talk category, and the most listened to station in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles Arbitron Portable People Meter ratings between January 6 – February 2, 2012.
Out of 15 on-air hosts, KFI has only one female host and no African-Americans.
The Black Media Alliance members include (partial listing): Kevin Ross, host of the syndicated television program ‘America’s Court with Judge Ross’, and former KABC and KFI host; Lee Bailey, 30-year radio broadcasting pioneer, founder and CEO of the Electronic Urban Report; Dominique DiPrima, talk radio veteran and host of the Front Page on KJLH 102.3 FM; Isidra Person Lynn, talk radio host, producer and former public affairs director; L. C. “Chris” Strudwick-Turner, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Los Angeles Urban League; K. E. Ross, 20-year radio veteran, on-air personality and the editor of RadioFacts.com; and journalist and communications strategist Jasmyne Cannick.
For more information on the Black Media Alliance follow them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diversifykfi and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/diversifykfi (hashtags #DiversifyKFI and #DiversifyClearChannel).
source: Black Media Alliance