John & Ken suspended for Whitney Houston comments; reaction


Here they go again—not long after the immigrants rights comments that caused a boycott and protest, Clear Channel’s KFI-AM LA announced 2/16 it is suspending immediately talk hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou “for making insensitive and inappropriate comments about the late Whitney Houston.”

Said KFI in a statement: “Effective immediately, KFI AM 640 hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been suspended for making insensitive and inappropriate comments about the late Whitney Houston.  KFI AM 640 management does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind.” 

Said Kobylt: “We made a mistake and we accept the station’s decision.  We used language that was inappropriate and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.” 

Some of what Kobylt said during the 3-7 PM daily show: “It’s like, Jesus…here comes the crack ho again.  Oh, look at that she’s doing handstands next to the pool. Very good crack ho, and then you find out she’s dead. It’s like, really? Took this long?” 

John and Ken will return to the air on Monday, 2/27.

Meanwhile, there has already been some pushback from a website with plenty of reader comments to boot: “There’s no rest for the weary – or the evil. No one talks anymore of how Marilyn Monroe died of acute barbituate poisoning, but it seems that everyone wants to get a few jabs in at the expense of Whitney Houston’s memory. The most vitriolic rant thus far comes from the hosts of the “John and Ken Show” in Los Angeles…Funny how Anna Nicole Smith and all the other white starlets who died of drug overdoses are never referenced in such demeaning ways. It’s also curious how, even though Whitney Houston disavowed crack in an interview with Dianne Sawyer, and presumably died from mixing prescription drugs and alcohol (we won’t know for sure until the toxicology report returns), she is still relegated to “crack ho” territory.

On this planet she was a diva with one of the greatest voices of all time. She came from a gifted and financially well-off family. But for many, like these two radio hosts, she was always just some project chick. That’s just how they view black people. This is the only explanation for how the Xanax found in Houston’s room could be substituted for crack in this scenario.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This time, the station did it right–immediate suspension. Last time, with them giving out the cellphone number of DREAM act advocate Jorge-Mario Cabrera in September and encouraging listeners to call him, the station hesitated and it took a turn for the worse. Here’s what we had said during that odyssey: “In hindsight, an immediate suspension for a week and immediate apology from the station and John and Ken may have saved the boycott action.” But bottom line, if these guys didn’t bring in ratings and ad dollars, they’d be gone for good. Listeners obviously like their brand of humor.