According to reports coming in from Los Angeles, the L.A. City Council passed a resolution (13 to 2) on Wednesday calling upon broadcasting companies to tell their on-air hosts to “not use and promote racist and sexist slurs” on their radio and other on air broadcasts. The dissenting votes came from Council Member Joe Buscaino and Council Member Mitch Englander.
“It’s a resolution not a motion. It’s more symbolic. It’s basically urging television and radio stations to just perhaps think about talking to their on-air personalities about the way they choose to address things,” Eva Kandarpa Behrend, spokeswoman for L.A. City Council member Jan Perry, told me on Wednesday. “It doesn’t have any way of enforcing it,” she added.
Council Member Perry introduced the first of its kind resolution in the nation which included language referring to talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and the remarks he made about Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke. The resolution also went after KFI640 AM’s John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the “John and Ken Show” regarding offensive on-air comments made about Whitney Houston:
WHEREAS, on February 15,2012, KFI640 AM’s talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the “John and Ken Show” referred to pop music icon Whitney Houston as a “crack ho”, three days after her death;WHEREAS, March is National Women’s History Month;and
WHEREAS, on February 29,2012, on the eve of Women’s History Month, KFI 640 AM’s syndicated talk show host Rush Umbaugh referred to Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, as a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying on Capitol Hill about women’s access to contraception;
The resolution also calls for further racial and gender diversity in Clear Channel Media Holding’s at KFI:
WHEREAS, given Clear Channel Media Holdings stated view on the value they-place on diversity, it is our belief that corporate action must start at the top with KFI 640 AM; and
WHEREAS, Clear Channel Media Holding’s commitment to diversity is not being realized at its flagship station KFI 640 AM, where out of 15 on-air personalities, only one is a female and none of them are African American; and
WHEREAS there are not any African Americans currently working in KFI 640 AM’s newsroom as full-time producers or engineers, or as outside paid contributors, fill- in hosts, or other on air personalities; and
WHEREAS, when you have an absence of African Americans and other minorities in the workplace, 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; and
WHEREAS, a truly diverse work environment includes the continuous hiring of women, blacks, and other minorities;
“It is my understanding that since the incidents that took place on the airwaves, representatives from the Black media alliance, National Hispanic Media Coalition, and others have met with management at the station. It is up to all of us to speak up and I thank all of them for working so diligently for the many communities of Los Angeles,” Council Member Perry said on Wednesday morning.
“When we hear unnecessarily demeaning language that doesn’t just disparage one individual, but an entire ethnic group it is both concerning and disheartening and we must do everything in our power to work with our communities to take stand against it,” she also said.
“The city council does pass resolutions about taking positions on things. And this is what they’re doing,” Ms. Kandarpa noted. The L.A. City Council is known for making national waves with some of their past resolutions. In 2003, The L.A. City Council adopted a resolution against the war in Iraq.