Ottawa Citizen

Houston jokes spur changes at L.A. radio station

- TIM KENNEALLY LOS ANGELES THEWRAP.COM

• Whitney Houston’s death — or rather, the crude comments made about Whitney Houston’s death by on-air personalit­ies John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou — have prompted a number of changes at Los Angeles radio station KFI AM 640.

In a memo “to the Los Angeles Community” issued Thursday, the radio station noted that it has enacted new policies — and will continue to enact new policies following public criticism over the comments.

According to the memo, the station said that Kobylt and Chiampou — of KFI’S “The John and Ken Show” — will undergo cultural sensitivit­y training, along with “key staff and management.” The training will further Kobylt and Chiampou’s “awareness of the cultural melting pot that is Southern California.”

On a broader scale, the station said it is reviewing its talk formats and “will find a platform for auditionin­g a diverse group of local hosts and guests.

“While our plans are still developing, we anticipate creating unique programmin­g to reflect important issues to our multicultu­ral community. This will be a great launching pad for identifyin­g talent for future opportunit­ies,” the memo reads.

The station also said it will be working with members of the community to “update guidelines for our on-air hosts in a way that is helpful in a live unscripted environmen­t,” and will “expand on its successful internship program to target minority students.”

Kobylt and Chiampou sparked outrage — and earned a week-anda-half suspension — in February when, days after Houston’s death, they made a number of on-air comments that many considered inappropri­ate. Among the comments, the pair called Houston a “crack ho” and wondered of her death, “Really? It took this long?”

The pair apologized in a statement issued by the station that also announced the pair’s suspension.

“We made a mistake, and we accept the station’s to suspend us,” Kobylt said. “We used language that was inappropri­ate, and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.”

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Two L.A. radio hosts were suspended over on-air remarks about singer Whitney Houston.
GETTY IMAGES Two L.A. radio hosts were suspended over on-air remarks about singer Whitney Houston.

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