Today, the Pasadena-based National Hispanic Media Coalition released “American Hate Radio: How a Powerful Outlet for Democratic Discourse Has Deteriorated into Hate, Racism and Extremism.”
The group says its report sheds light on the prevalence and the dangers of hate speech on American radio. Revealing complaints filed by consumers with the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, which NHMC uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act request, the group says its report documents years of public allegations of hate speech against KFI AM 640, a Clear Channel Radio station.
“American Hate Radio” explores what the NHMC says is how hate groups and hate crimes have spiked while hate radio’s popularity and reach have grown.
The report notes that radio is the primary way that people consume media, reaching 93% percent of Americans each week. In the 1990s, the news-talk format developed, and it is now the predominant radio format with almost 1,800 dedicated stations nationwide.
However, the report calims, the quality of news-talk radio programs varies a great deal. All the while, the number of hate groups in the U.S. has more than doubled since 2000. The five states with the most hate groups are California (68), Texas (59), Florida (49), New Jersey (47) and Mississippi (40).
To exemplify the type of hate-filled rhetoric that plagues American radio, the report synthesizes hundreds of consumer complaints to the FCC against KFI AM, a southern California radio station. The full report is available online at: www.nhmc.org/hateradio.
“FBI statistics reveal that hate crimes against Latinos spiked 40% between 2003 and 2007. Recent reports show that hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise in California and Washington, DC – with California experiencing an increase of almost 50% in the last year alone,”Â said Alex Nogales, President and CEO of NHMC. “We have over 1,000 hate groups across the nation, a number that has doubled in the past decade. Within this atmosphere of intolerance, we cannot afford racist and divisive language on our airwaves, especially language that encourages violence and hate. NHMC hopes that this report will facilitate a civil discussion about the problem as we explore non-regulatory, non-legislative solutions.”
The NHMC says that FCC records indicate that, between 2008 and 2011, over 240 consumers filed complaints about KFI’s programming. 82%, specifically alleged hate speech or violent speech. All but a handful of these complaints were against shock jocks that continue to regularly pontificate on KFI’s airwaves.
“Sadly, hate speech is rampant on American radio. This hate goes way beyond political speech and hyperbole. Some radio pundits encourage and legitimize violence and hate towards groups that are perceived to be ‘the others’ because they think it is profitable. KFI is only one of many broadcasters that choose to air divisive and irresponsible language. NHMC believes that broadcasters should not profit at the expense of people’s safety. That’s why we wrote this report, and that’s why we have ongoing campaigns against The John and Ken Show and JosÃ© Luis Sin Censura,” adds Jessica Gonzalez, Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs at NHMC.
Pasadena-based National Hispanic Media Coalition says it is a non-partisan, non-profit, media advocacy and civil rights organization established in 1986 in Los Angeles, California. Its mission is to improve the image of American Latinos as portrayed by the media, increase the number of American Latinos employed in all facets of the media and telecommunications industries, and advocate for media and telecommunications policies that benefit Latinos and other people of color. Learn more at www.nhmc.org. On Twitter @NHMC.