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LA council wants to keep airwaves 'crack ho' free

The Los Angeles City Council passes a resolution asking Clear Channel to end racist and offensive remarks. Kim Baldonado reports.

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles City Council members called on TV and radio broadcasters to keep their hosts from spewing crude slurs, citing KFI radio calling Whitney Houston a "crack ho."

The council voted 13-2 on Wednesday for a resolution urging Los Angeles stations to do "everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves."

The resolution stems from comments made by KFI talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the “John and Ken Show” who, three days after Whitney Houston died, referred to the pop music icon as a “crack ho.”


Read NBCLosAngeles.com's coverage of council's mission to cut racist remarks

“It is easy to become desensitized to what other groups find intolerable which ultimately fosters an environment where negative comments can go unchecked and corporate guidelines and policies are no longer being enforced,” the resolution stated.

The resolution also states that it important for stations to hire more women and minorities.

The measure is a symbolic stance and has no legal force. However, council members argued that it was proper for the ethnically diverse city to speak out against what they called hate speech.

Government has no right to suppress "hateful, vile, despicable speech" but society should not tolerate it, Councilman Paul Krekorian said. "We can drown out that hatred with a loud chorus."

The measure was sponsored by three black council members and supported by civil rights and minority media groups. It was broadened after originally naming only KFI-AM and its owner, Clear Channel, which carries Rush Limbaugh and owns hundreds of stations nationwide.

The comments led to a public outcry, a seven-day suspension for the hosts and a public apology.

"They brought Latinos, African Americans, native Americans, women's groups -- everyone together around this particular issue," said Jasmyne Cannick, of the Black Media Alliance, who urged the council to pass the resolution.

Station officials have promised to diversify their staff and add more minority hosts at the station where conservative hosts often rail against taxes and illegal immigration.

Clear Channel Los Angeles and KFI responded with the following: We "support the LA City Council resolution regarding the need for diversity of personnel, inclusionary programming, and appropriate on-air language across all media."

The resolution also cited recent remarks by Limbaugh. Limbaugh called law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a prostitute who wanted the government to subsidize her sex life after she urged lawmakers to consider the importance of contraception coverage in their discussion of national health care policy. He later apologized after several sponsors dropped his show.

The station has 1.5 million listeners during any given weekday.

This story includes reporting from NBCLosAngeles.com’s Jason Kandel and Ted Chen, and The Associated Press.

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