I was raised by conservative parents who loved to listen to conservative talk radio. As a teenager, any time that I got into a car with my parents the radio station was always tuned to KFI AM640, a conservative talk radio based out of Southern California. I don’t recall when I first started listening to the “John and Ken show”, but I do recall the horror that I felt at the hate and negativity that spewed from the speakers. It was completely incomprehensible to me.
As soon as I moved out of the house, I finally gained enough courage to demand that my parents turn the show off whenever I entered the car. Over the years I grew to be horrified at all of the hate speech targeted towards immigrants and people of color in general. I just couldn’t take the constant attacks on immigrants, the hype about “black welfare mamas” and the constant spread of misinformation about immigrants and Spanish-speakers.
I haven’t tuned in to the radio station in years, but I admit that for about a ten year period I would periodically turn it on to check the traffic reports. I began to notice that every time that the John and Ken show was on air that they were still up to their constant immigrant bashing. During one year, I even experimented with randomly turning it on to verify if they were talking about immigrants and I found that every time that I tuned in they were talking about “illegal immigrants”, with the exception of one time that they were ranting about African Americans using ebonics.
The other day I was listening to KPFK, a progressive radio station in Southern California, and I heard a discussion from a representative from the National Hispanic Media Coalition who was demanding that the radio station put an end to John and Ken’s hate speech. It’s about time! The representative from the advocacy group mentioned that they were going to be meeting with Clear Channel Radio, the owner of KFI AM640, to demand an end to the hate speech. The group also planned on pressuring advertisers to send a message to the radio station that the John and Ken hate rhetoric is no longer acceptable.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of California has started a petition on Change.org demanding that Clear Channel Radio take the John and Ken show off the air. Today the Los Angeles Times reported that Verizon and AT&T Wireless have pulled their advertising from the show, and that Vons and Ralph stores have agreed to not advertise in the future.
We must unite across cultures and ethnicities to demand an end to hate speech on radios and television. Please send a message to Clear Channel Radio that you will no longer tolerate the racism and hate from the KFI AM640′s John and Ken show. Speak up for those who can’t by signing this simple petition and spreading the word to your family and friends. Exercise your power and put an end to radio-sponsored hate speech.
About the Author: Kennedy is a writer, an educator, a feminist, and a social justice activist. She is also really obsessed with multiculturalism and political advocacy.