The National Hispanic Media Coalition, a Latino and immigrant rights group, said 10/6 that it will move forward with a boycott of the “John and Ken” show after management at CC Radio’s KFI-AM LA canceled a meeting with representatives. The boycott extends to the entire station, along with its advertisers.
Greg Ashlock, market manager for CC Radio/LA, initially agreed to meet with the group but canceled the meeting because their request had become an ultimatum demanding that John and Ken be removed from the air.
The whole thing started when John and Ken (John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou) recently gave out the cellphone number on-air of Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a longtime immigrant rights activist, in a campaign against the California Dream Act (state tuition assistance for illegal immigrants).
But what followed was a barrage of hate-filled phone calls that followed on that cell phone and office numbers, because the hosts and urged listeners that opposed to The Dream Act to call him. Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told The LA Times he got more than 400 calls, many of them filled with hateful language and calls for violence.
“I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish,” Ashlock told the paper.
Said Alex Nogales, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition in a statement: “This cancellation is only one incident in Clear Channel and KFI’s disappointing pattern of disregard for the Latino community. Clear Channel and KFI have proven that they are hate profiteers. Their refusal to face the music regarding John and Ken’s egregious behavior shows us that they are not concerned with the people they harm but only their bottom line. This is not the kind of response we would expect from responsible broadcasters. By their actions, Clear Channel and KFI have sent a strong message – they have blessed John and Ken’s hate-filled rants while at the same time demonstrated their complete disregard to serving the Los Angeles community.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Obviously, John and Ken have not been effective in any apology or explanation they’ve attempted. While LA has a large Hispanic population, we figure many of the show’s listener base is not. So ratings won’t be affected, but if the boycott is vigorous enough, some advertisers will bail. Local businesses need the revenue from such a huge market demographic in the Southland. And while a good portion of that demo may not listen to the show, a good portion do listen to the station and they’ll follow a boycott against businesses if it’s organized effectively enough.