CALL TO ACTION: It’s OK to Say…

“Garen will finish what Hitler/Pol Pot/Milosevic started,” right? See it’s only a friend kidding around. It’s all for ratings advertising money through shock-jockery. It’s OK, at least that’s gotta be Bill Handel’s, of Clear Channel owned KFI 640 AM radio in the “LA Market”, approach to life.

This Burbank-based show is another of the right-wing, loud, unsubstantiated, crass, yet immensely popular noise machines that is epitomized by Rush (The Druggie) Limbaugh. In this case, believe it or not, a discussion of healthcare led to the statement “What the Turks started, Bill will finish”.

While talking about the costs, Handel suggested reducing the U.S. population to save the government money. Then came a wisecrack about starting with the Armenians and selling Glendale. So far, it’s just tacky, and par for the shock-radio course. One person who heard this called and e-mailed to complain. The upshot? The e-mail was read and mocked, again no surprises. But then came “What the Turks started, Bill will finish.”

Now it’s time to let the rage flow free. Call, write, and just plain flood KFI and its owner, Clear Channel with your disgust. These people (and here I use the term loosely) have to learn what boundaries not to cross. Handel’s parents being Holocaust survivors doesn’t excuse or sanction such abuse. Quite the contrary, it makes things all the worse.

When you call, tell them you want a serious apology, one not fraught with further mockery. Even more, Handel should issue a call to his listeners to write Obama the Betrayer and contact their Congressional reps to support the current resolution.

You’ll certainly want to hear the two clips. Unfortunately, you can’t hear the real offender off KFI’s website. Why? They’ve taken down that show from their website. Hmm, wonder why that is. Fortunately, they were downloaded ahead of time and are now available at: http://www.burbankanc.org/KFI.mp3

To contact these people, here are some options:
snail mail address:
3400 W Olive Ave Ste 550, Burbank CA 91505
e-mail:
Robin Bertolucci, Program Director, KFI AM640,RobinBertolucci@clearchannel.com

KFI station numbers:
Main: (818) 559-2252
Programming: (818) 566-6476

Corporate headquarters:
Clear Channel, 200 East Basse Road, San Antonio, TX 78209
210/822-2828
webmaster@clearchannel.com

Let’s flood these people. Especially since it’s a holiday weekend, let’s fill up their voice mail system. You can find some other numbers for them on line too. If you’re feeling up to it, flood those as well.

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16 Comments

  1. Ruben said:

    I know this show, Bill Handel offends everybody, but here he has crossed the line. I wonder if he would find a joke about finishing the Jews to be as funny. However, this method of protest is ineffective, amateurish, a complete waste of time, and I’m sorry to say stupid. If you want results, you should pick out one of his sponsors(where the money is!!) and/or advertisers and protest/email them. It should preferably be the most local advertiser with the most Armenian customers which stands to lose some customers. If you can get just one sponsor to cancel, it will send a message. Sending 5000 emails that he will delete at the click of a button is simply a waste of our time and I am tired of this tired and stupid tactic. Do you think annoying your opponents into submission through mass emails is going to yield results??? Oh and by the way, did you know there are Armenians in this country that are right wing, I’m sorry if you don’t believe it. Recent events show us that Democrats lie and stab Armenians in the back just as much as anybody else. And what the heck does calling Rush Limbaugh a druggie have to do with Handel’s stupidity??? Sounds like you have some type of grudge against Republicans, maybe you like the party of Jane Harman, Dick Gephardt, and Barack Obama?? Oh what great deeds Democrats have done for Armenians!!

  2. Patrick B said:

    Please as a precaution to ALL callers:

    Even though my blood is boiled, you must all keep your cool. Allow passion and anger to flow, but profanity is below us! Racist comments should not be tolerated, because then we would be as low as these bigots. I urge a strong support to what Garen has said.

  3. Stacey said:

    I seems like my original comment yesterday was deleted due to stating FACTS about this radio show. You can not truthfully call Bill ‘right wing’…he’s FOR gay marriage, FOR universal health care, FOR a woman’s right to choose…then, just when you’re about to call him ‘left wing’ you find out he’s FOR the death penalty, FOR enforcing immigration laws and FOR a stop to higher taxes. So you can’t classify him as either, plus, he’s voted for both republicans and democrats for president and he’s a registered independent.

    Plus, if you actually LISTEN to the show you’ll know that he has made jokes before about the holocaust, as tasteless as it is, he’s not a hypocrite…it was a joke, get over yourselves and get a life already. Why weren’t you guys protesting when he said Pope John Paul II is the ‘patron saint of child molesters’ or that Armenian men all have hairy chests and wear big medallions, or how Italian women are hairy and how they switch alliances during war based on whoever is winning…i could go on forever….but that’s right, you only get mad when he jokes about you but you’ll turn your head and laugh when he jokes about someone else.

  4. Ani said:

    I agree with Stacey it was just a joke. But the condition became worst because Garen’s oversensitive email. If you actually LISTEN to the second show when they responding to the email, you will realize that it was not the Bill Handle’s remarks but it was his co host’s remarks “ the Lady” I don’t know her name. She was the one makes a racist remarks. I try to find her name but I couldn’t. Bill Handel’s co-host ladies are “Jodi Becher or Janice Ungaro or could be some other lady. Let’s find out her name and make her to apologies to Armenians.

  5. Ruben said:

    Stacey, I DO listen to the Handel show, and if you do recall he DID issue an apology to Arab-Americans when he made a joke about 100’s being killed in a stampede in Mecca. That is a FACT. Maybe if you listened, you would remember that. So even he acknowledges there are certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed and warrant an apology. And yes, what a shock, many Armenians don’t enjoy jokes about the Armenian Genocide. I can ASSURE you, I WOULDN’T LAUGH at a Holocaust joke as you assume. Look there are many stereotypes about Armenians in SoCal, mostly negative, and I don’t mind Bill mining these for comedy as he often does, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that maybe he hold back on the eliminate all Armenians from Glendale “joke”. Are you saying hairy chest jokes are the same as genocide jokes? Seriously? Also, I can also promise you I do have a life. Are you even Armenian? What kind of life do you have, a non-Armenian checking for Armenian news? I respect Asians and Mexicans, but I don’t spend my time trolling their websites for the latest Asian and Mexican news.

    As for Garen, I urge him to not nudge the Armenian cause toward one end of the political spectrum. The Armenian-American cause should be non-partisan. When it pertains to American Armenian issues, please keep your liberal slant to yourself because you do the cause a disservice by alienating people on the other side. Also, as I said before, emailing the show won’t do anything, they will just delete it. Radio people only care about ratings and money, and unless you effect those, don’t expect any apology. Any person in radio will tell you most of the people in the business are insecure low lifes. If you truly want an apology, you go after the sponsors, maybe Bill’s rabbi, I’m sure he’d understand. As for me, I’m done with this, going to go back to living my life, the Armenian cause has much bigger fish to fry then Bill Handel.

  6. Avery said:

    Stacey is right: calling Bill Handle ‘right-wing’ is incorrect and needlessly diverts focus from the main issue.

    However, I disagree with both Stacey and Ani on the following points:

    To Stacey: I do actually listen to Bill Handle’s show, regularly. He does insult everyone; true. But there are insults, and then there are insults, as they say. He also jokes about Jews and the Holocaust. But if you listen carefully, there is a difference. He makes superficial jokes about the latter to insulate himself for just such an occasion as this. His joke about getting rid of Armenians in Glendale, and his employee’s joke about “…what the Turks started…”. are materially different. Tell me if you have EVER heard Bill or any of his employees ‘joke about’ wiping out Israel or getting rid of Jews from New York City.

    As to it being just a joke: would it be OK to joke – on public airwaves no less – about sexually assaulting women ? Or how about joking about assassinating an American President: how long do you think before the Secret Service hauled him out in handcuffs ?

    There is a big difference between joking about both Armenian men and women having hair on their chests and mustaches (per Bill Handle – and yes, that one is funny) and ‘joking’ about eliminating a group of people, or actually saying “…what the Turks started, Bill will finish…”.

    To Ani: On the May 14 show, the email was read, laughed at…no problem there. But when someone who works for Bill says “…what the Turks started, Bill will finish…”, there is a big problem. It’s Bill’s show: he’s the boss. The fact that one of his employees made that statement and Bill didn’t immediately shut her up makes him responsible: remember, live broadcast has several seconds of delay per FCC regulations. The fact that the comment was not dumped and was broadcast means Bill agreed with it.

    And finally, to those who think these things don’t matter and that we should get over it: big tragedies start with little, innocuous things like this. No group of people wakes up one day and decides to wipe out another group: there is a long, almost imperceptible process of dehumanizing the targeted group. Little step by little step you are dehumanized, so that if it ever becomes necessary to get rid of you, not many people will complain – after all you are less than human.

    That is one reason our Jewish friends are hyper-sensitive and hyper-vigilant: can you blame them or us ?

  7. Lori said:

    It’s one thing to say Glendale should be sold and a completely different thing to suggest one should finish what the Turks started. One is a joke with some comedic value that anyone with a sense of humor can appreciate the other has absolutely no comedic value whatsoever! Stereotypes about Armenians being smelly or Italians being hairy aren’t offensive but a comment about killing off an entire nation is offensive. Especially when the wounds are so fresh. There are survirors and direct decendents of survivors. I for one could care less if someone said something about Armenians having big noses, but I do care when someone is suggesting that my grandfather who survived the Genocide or my family and my people should be “finished off”!

    Stacey, If you can’t see the difference between the stereotypes/jokes and the later you’re just as ignorant as him!

  8. Leon J. Manoogian said:

    I find Bill’s comments along with his co-host extremely offensive. Armenians, as a whole have toiled and worked this land since the genocide. They Learned English and adapted to the American way of life, while keeping their identity. Maybe this is what people make fun of. The stories from my Grandparents would make your blood run cold. Please no more comments on getting rid of Armenians. We have paid more than our dues and contributed to society a hell of a lot more per capita than a lot of other nationalities.
    J.F.K. said it best and I’ll try to paraphrase. “We all breathe the same air and want what is best for our children”
    I believe if all of us do our part to make this world a better place , our children can reap the rewards of our labor and make this world a better place to live after we are gone.

  9. Mary said:

    Ms. Stacey the reason why we are so out raged is because the genocide is not a laughing matter. the other jokes about the Armenian mens chest hair could be joked about, but he shouldnt joke about the holocust or the genocide. And no we do not turn our heads and laugh at jokes made at the expense of millions of deaths, you got to be pretty sick to laugh at a joke like that. And yes we are going to make a big deal about this because this genocide is still not accepted in America if we have people like him making it a light-hearted situation out of this (joking about it) then it will never get accepted. I just think its wrong to crack jokes at the expense of deaths and he should apologize for it.( i dont know if he has already)

  10. MARY said:

    We should definitely do something about this it’s just unacceptable, I’m speechless and don’t even know how to respond i’m so furious. What we have to do though is make sure nobody reacts in a violent way with their calls, and letters, keep it professional and not stoop to their ignorant level. That way they will take us seriously.

  11. Angie said:

    For the people that say “its a joke,” i agree with the others on there are 2 types of jokes. If we make fun of black people and say they were too much flashy clothes, its totally different then saying they should never have been freed or something in that sense. If you can’t tell the difference, you have some major issues.

    And this was directed toward other races as well, i guess to calm the issue and say “yea the irish and italians too!” but it was still existing. The thing that i dont understand is, these true “americans”/”whites,” whatever you want to call it, come from some sort of ethnic decent. If he wants to clear the nation of all races, then we should all leave and let the Native Americans have their rightful land. America is what it is BECAUSE of the diversity, especially California, if anyones not happy with that, move to one of the hic states! (sorry I’m a little annoyed by that subject considering I had an arguement with a “white” lady over a parking space who during the course of the argument cussed out Armenians, Mexicans, etc. and claimed she belonged here since she was born here.. SORRY LADY I WAS BORN HERE TOO!)

    Anyways, I recently read an apology letter that was posted on facebook by the guy who wrote to the station and apparently got a response. Basically it said that they were sorry, and that they nothing was meant by it, and its a touchy issue that should’ve had more sensitivity, and that Bill Handels show has always been like this, yada yada yada. Obviously it was coming from the station not directly Bill or co-hosts. Well basically my question to that is, if they didn’t mean it like that and had no intention of taking down Armenians, why would they continue to mock them and make the situation worse when they recieved the emails? If that was truly the case, wouldn’t they have apologized right on the radio station??

  12. Matt said:

    The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce voted to issue Bill Handel a star on the Walk of Fame, taking place this Friday on Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood at 11:30 a.m. Sounds like a great place for a protest rally and egg throwing contest.

  13. Mary Alidz said:

    In case anyone is curious who the show’s sponsors are…here are some notable ones. Mandalay Bay, ProFlowers, LegalZoom, etc. For a complete list copy this URL which will take you directly to the site listing every sponsor to his show http://www.kfiam640.com/pages/Sales.html?feed=134121&article=1666952

    I urge you to write to these sponsors and ask them to STOP supporting his show.

    Once the money runs out…BILL WILL BE OUT!!!

  14. Ruben said:

    Apparently Handel and Lara Hermanson have issued apologies.

    http://www.kfiam640.com/pages/Promotions.html

    As you can see on previous posts, I was very critical of Handel on this incident. But now, I’m moving on, his apology is pretty good to me and we have bigger fish to fry. Seeing as how we have much bigger issues to fight for, I hope we can all just move on now, we don’t need to run this thing into the ground.

  15. Kristine Takvoryan said:

    Did anyone listen to the actual apology that went on air this morning? (Listen to it here: http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/18227/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/18227/podcast/LOSANGELES-CA/KFI-AM/HOTN061209.mp3) I find it very disturbing that Bill didn’t actually apologize on air, he let Lara take the blame and apologize and he made general comments about how they should have “caught” her mistake. He literally accepted her apology as if he had no role to play in the comment or the apology other than being responsible for the show because his name is on it, and having apparently not caught her comments when it took place, and only realized close to a month later that she had actually snuck in an outrageous comment like that. THAT’S NOT ACCEPTABLE. HE PLAYED A ROLE IN THIS, HE WAS NOT AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER. Why is this a big deal when he seems to “apologize” in the video above and will issue a written apology? Because everyone heard the hurtful comments on air, whether they were offended or agreed with it. The actual apology from BILL was limited to only those of us who care (because we are the ones who take the time to find the apology on the web, or forward it to others we know who care). What I’m saying is the inappropriate comments were live on air, BILL’S apology was behind the scenes limited to those of us who raised issue with what was said. I think the apology came just in time for him to avoid being humiliated when he received his star in Hollywood, and was done to avoid the protest, which would have brought the issue to mainstream media. I feel like our victory was only partial.

    As Armenians, we should learn to demand more than a “behind the scenes” apology when people step on us. I’m actually disappointed because those of us who had taken initiative to organize a protest, accepted what was presented as an “apology” and simply backed down.

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