The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), a non-profit, non-partisan, media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, filed a 351-page petition with the FCC to deny the renewal of the broadcast license of Clear Channel’s news talker KFI-AM LA.
The petition contends that “KFI and Clear Channel have demonstrated a pattern of abuse using their broadcast license by airing repeated instances of hate speech that target the many diverse communities of Los Angeles. NHMC further alleges that this pattern of abuse fails to serve the public interest and that evidence exists to suggest that KFI has engaged in news distortion.”
Said NHMC President & CEO Alex Nogales: “For too long, KFI and Clear Channel have used their broadcasting privilege to demonize and degrade the many diverse communities throughout Los Angeles, causing great harm to all of us along the way. However, as they actively sought to alienate entire segments of the community, they actually succeeded in alienating themselves from the community and, therefore, have rendered themselves incapable of providing the service that their license demands. They have failed to respond to the outrage that they have caused the citizens of Los Angeles and there is no recourse left but to strip them of their license. We hope that the FCC will act with haste to grant our petition and open up a license for somebody that will take to heart their responsibilities as a broadcaster.”
In 2012, NHMC led a campaign for the removal of KFI’s “The John and Ken Show.” It also NHMC fired off a letter to Clear Channel investors Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners, complaining about the company’s hosts and practices. It delivered a petition to CCME’s Board: “Fire John and Ken,” and listed accusations against numerous Clear Channel hosts, including Rush Limbaugh. Lastly, NHMC also weighed in on John & Ken’s calling Whitney Houston a “crack ho” on air.
NHMC says The John and Ken Show is known to “habitually use unsubstantiated claims, divisive language, flawed argumentation and dehumanizing metaphors against people of color, people of certain religions and LGBT people to shock and anger their audience. NHMC-commissioned studies have found that hate speech on commercial talk radio promotes hatred toward people of color, certain religious groups and LGBT people. Furthermore, the studies revealed that hateful rhetoric in radio not only harms the targeted group, but it can also negatively impact listeners’ health, regardless of race, ethnicity, nativity, or ideological alignment with the speaker.”
RBR-TVBR observation: NHMC has been pretty active in trying to get advertisers to boycott the John and Ken Show in LA for years, but they’re still on the air—and now on WOR-AM NYC as well. The program is billed as the most listened to local talk radio show in the United States. The duo have kept things clean as of late, so that helps. But bottom line, if the FCC were to strip KFI of its license, it would have to do the same for plenty of other talk stations as well.