7:00pm October 20, 2011

Phone Pimps: John and Ken’s Last Stand


(Special from The Daily Grito)

In a new twist to the John and Ken show boycott in Los Angeles, KFI radio hosts radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been pressed to contact Jorge-Mario Cabrera, the media spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

Remember: this is the same Jorge-Mario Cabrera who received a slew of threatening phone calls last month after the duo blasted his cell number over the air.

Now, after public pressure from a multi-ethnic coalition led by the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Asian American Justice Center and the Jewish Labor Committee Western Region to have Kobylt and Chiampou removed, the KFI radio shock jocks are taking an apologetic public step.

But this move may not indicate contrition on the part of John and Ken as they vow to continue reading phone numbers on their show.

Within the past two weeks, four major advertisers on the John and Ken show have agreed to pull their ads in response to the economic boycott planned by the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Those four companies include the big grocers Vons and Ralphs, along with telecommunications giants Verizon and AT&T.

Alex Nogales, the President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, tells the Daily Grito that his organization remains firm in calling for the removal of John and Ken from the airwaves. “The fact of the matter is that they [John and Ken show] can’t be sustained without the advertisers,” explains Nogales. “And we are prepared to take this on for the long haul. We want them out.”

Nogales is quick to remind many that it was his organization, in concert with others supporting civil dialogue on immigration, that helped pressure CNN to remove Lou Dobbs two years ago. While Dobbs certainly had a bigger bully pulpit than John and Ken do right now, he officially offered his resignation to CNN. But the Dobbs’ resignation came after a much publicized fight to have his big media platform taken away. The National Hispanic Media Coalition and the organizations they are partnering with hope to have a similar result with Clear Channel’s KFI.

Last week, the National Hispanic Media Coalition and its allies led a peaceful demonstration outside of the KFI station offices. “We expect that most – if not all – of the advertisers will pull out their ads in support of our campaign against the hate speech targeting Latinos and other people of color on KFI’s ‘John and Ken Show,’” said Nogales during the rally.

John and Ken’s public apology to Jorge-Mario Cabrera, undermined by a subsequent claim to continue reading phone numbers over the airwaves, occurred earlier this week after last week’s protest. On Monday’s show, John Kobylt said: “Because we have made it clear, because we’ll be giving out phone numbers again along the way. We’ve made it clear in the past, don’t get abusive. Don’t be hateful, don’t threaten violence. We said be strong and aggressive with your opinions on the issue. But, you don’t have to lapse into absurdity.”

But absurdity makes for good ratings, and John and Ken have scape-goated Latinos for years. Beyond immigration policy, the two shock jocks implied this past spring that Mexican culture was to blame for the horrific beating of a Giants fan at Dodger stadium. A few years ago, they disparaged Los Angeles’s Eastside after the opening of the Gold Line extension, calling the historic neighborhood a “disgusting illegal alien slum.” John and Ken also pondered why they’ve never seen goat at the “authentic Mexican restaurants” they supposedly frequent.

Between 2009 and 2010, there was a near 50% increase in hate crimes against Latinos in the state of California. Public discourse that goes unchecked can contribute to an environment where hate crimes occur. In Los Angeles County, where Latinos are 48% of the population, the opportunity to flex economic power is enormous – by either avoiding sponsors of the John and Ken show or boycotting all eight Clear Channel stations in the region.

The National Hispanic Media Coalition remains resolute in its goal of having John and Ken removed from the airwaves.  “In a county with such a large Latino presence, why are we going to accept this abuse on a daily basis?” charged Nogales. “We have the will to go out and engage the public on this matter, and we have all the options open.”


About the Author

Adriana Maestas
Adriana Maestas is the senior contributing editor of Politic365.com. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and have complete editorial independence from any Politic365 partners, sponsors, or advertisers. For additional information about Politic365, please visit http://politic365.com/about/.



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  1. Tim Jr Rules

    Google "Mexican food" and "goat," and it's clear that goat is a part of authentic Mexican cuisine. East LA is full of illegal Mexicans (where else do they live, Hollywood?), and sorry, it is a disgustingly ugly neighborhood. Finally, it was the DA's theory that a gang member Latino was responsible for violence at Dodger Stadium.

  2. Tim Jr. Rules

    So where is the "abuse," exactly, that John and Ken allegedly dole out? Is this is the best you've goat, I mean got? John and Ken are right that this issue is really about the Latino coalition's attempt to silence opposition

  3. Janet

    @ Tim jr Rules: You must live in another city, dear because in LA, we (Mexicans) live in all parts of the city. I live in Venice and the Latino community is simply tired of having to put up with racist jerks like them and you. We too are exercising our right to free speech and to use our buying power to show we are an important part of the economy which no major company wants to lose. Shame on them and shame on you for such racist comments! I hope your daughter or sons marries a Latino one day and you have little Mexican grandchildren.

  4. Tim Jr. Rules

    As I pointed out Janet, John and Ken have said nothing racist. It's fair to call Los Angeles' East Side a slum, and what you say about Mexican's living "all over" is neither here nor there to that subject. Illegal Mexicans do live "all over," and that is a problem, but most of them, millions in fact, live in the slum areas of the East Side. This is a problem. If you truly care about this problem, why don't you do something about it besides cry "racist!" and support Boycotts of the few who are trying to make this city a fit place for everyone to live in again.

  5. Sorry there Adriana, but there is no way in hell you could connect the John and Ken Show with any part of the rise in crimes against Latinos. Nice try though…LOL

  6. Mark

    I'm surprised KFI talk show hosts John and Ken have lasted this long on the air waves. I used to listen to them a few years ago before they went crazy with attacks on Latino's and Latino politicians like LA Mayor Villaraigosa. Of course Latino's weren't the only group in their headlights. They enjoyed making disparaging remarks about Blacks and Asians too. And they certainly don't hide their anti-immigrant bias. I say pull them off the air waves !! Maybe FOX, where that type of jouranlism is tolerated, will offer them a show.

  7. Generally I don’t learn post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

  8. [...] target of Latino groups who were promoting a boycott because of the duo’s insensitive and inflammatory remarks about Latinos and immigration related [...]

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