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LA council urges curbs on derogatory radio speech

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POSTED March 21, 2012 7:29 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The City Council called on TV and radio broadcasters Wednesday to keep their hosts from spouting crude slurs, citing Rush Limbaugh's reference to a woman as a "slut" and a KFI show calling Whitney Houston a "crack ho."

The council voted 13-2 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 also states that it's important for stations to hire more women and minorities.

The measure has no legal force and Councilman Richard Alarcon said its message would be "mild and weak" in comparison to the reach of radio. However, he and other 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 Limbaugh and owns hundreds of stations nationwide.

Clear Channel said it supported the spirit of the council action.

"Clear Channel Los Angeles and KFI support the spirit of the LA City Council resolution regarding the need for diversity of personnel, inclusionary programming, and appropriate on-air language across all media," Clear Channel said in a statement.

Burbank-based KFI has 1.5 million listeners on any given weekday, the resolution said.

At the council meeting, speakers said the focus was on conservative radio shows such as the one hosted by Limbaugh, accusing them of trading in crude stereotypes of blacks, women and Latinos.

"It's ugly. It's violent. They're inciting others to violence," said Alex Nogales, head of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

The resolution specifically cites recent remarks by Limbaugh and KFI's John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou.

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. Limbaugh later apologized after several sponsors dropped his show.

KFI's "John and Ken" show was briefly pulled last month after the radio hosts referred to the late Houston as a "crack ho."

 

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