Another Day, Another KFI Radio Host Flashpoint*

Following the very contentious recent on-air pronouncements of John Kobylt and Rush Limbaugh, this is the last thing KFI 640 AM management in Burbank want to be dealing with. But thanks to a bulletin from the Black Media Alliance, they will be.

At around 8:40 a.m. this morning, Bill Handel uttered the words “dumb ass women” while discussing Kansas’ new abortion law, House Bill 2598, which if passed, will require women to hear the fetal heartbeat before a procedure. As soon as he said it, colleague Gary Hoffman jumped in with the comment, “You just stepped into it once again… Whatever you just said is going to be taken so completely out of context…”

Not exactly. As far as the BMA is concerned, context is immaterial. Here’s the organization’s reaction statement:

The line was crossed yet again on Clear Channel’s number one radio station in the second largest media market in the country, Los Angeles’ KFI 640 AM. And again this “imaginary line” keeps being crossed at the expense of women.

Once again, the line has been crossed without any statement from KFI management or repercussions like those sustained by John and Ken. Obviously Clear Channel doesn’t see a problem attacking woman and minorities, because their non-action is speaking much louder than their “We Are Listening” press release sent out to various media outlets Mar. 1, in response to station criticism.

Given the climate around Clear Channel’s host Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” and “prostitute” comment in regards to reproductive rights and the ensuing controversy, Handel’s comments couldn’t come at a worse time and blatantly puts on display Clear Channel and KFI’s complete lack of disregard for the sexist banter from their hosts.

Diversity and sensitivity training is not the answer. We are insisting that Clear Channel suspend without pay Rush Limbaugh over his comments as well as BillHandel, and to develop, define, and put into place written policy and procedures that draws the line for their talk show hosts and programming directors, so that when they “hear it,” they know it and the proper action is taken including a media statement in the form of a press release where KFI as station condemns the hosts comments.

These pervasive, sustained attacks on women are offensive to women and men alike, irrespective of political ideology and it’s extremely difficult to have a meaningful conversation about diversity when the indefensible continues to be defended by the silence of Clear Channel and KFI management. Unless and until this happens, BMA is asking all local businesses in the Southern California area to rethink their radio advertising strategy at KFI and all Clear Channel stations.

[Photo of Handel courtesy KFI]

*Update – 03/09/12: A spokesperson for KFI has responded to the above, via email. Their full statement:

The Black Media Alliance’s attempt to inject themselves in the news cycle and censor voices they don’t like continued today with their fictitious statement about Bill Handel.

Bill Handel today defended women by mocking the proposed Kansas law requiring listening to a fetal heartbeat before terminating a pregnancy. He argued that the implication of the law itself was that it suggests that women are not smart enough to understand this without legislative intervention through this new law. His comments satirized this notion.

KFI condemns the outright lie of the Black Media Alliance suggesting he was denigrating women, and we demand they retract it and apologize immediately. We also urge responsible media members to double check future statements of the Black Media Alliance, so that they are not inadvertent parties to their deceptions.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.