A coalition of Black radio broadcasters, journalists and community leaders met with KFI’s John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou over their comments regarding the late Whitney Houston.
The main concern was the lack of diversity on the KFI airwaves and newsroom. “KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white males,” activist Jasmyne Cannick said. “There are no blacks in their newsroom. This fosters an environment where negative comments can happen. And they are not living up to [parent company] Clear Channel’s statement of a commitment to diversity.”
KFI management promised to respond to the coalition within 72 hours regarding the following concerns:
1. The hiring of more Blacks as on air talent – Full time, weekends, fill-in hosts.
2. Similar to cable outlets, the station should feature paid KFI contributing commentators who can discuss issues with the on-air from different perspectives.
3. Clear Channel must employ more blacks behind the scenes such as producers, engineers, sales representatives, professionals in marketing and promotions, as well as college interns of color. This is not limited to KFI.
4. KFI specifically needs to collaborate with online news and entertainment sites owned by African Americans and broaden the listening audience through community outreach events and public affairs.
Call me cynical, but I’m not holding my breath that any of these changes will be implemented at KFI. I think it’s going to take more than a John and Ken suspension to get the point across to Clear Channel management.
(Photo: Isidra Person-Lynn)