The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

12 January 2008

Former KFI Host Launches Site Critical Of Station Management


Ex-KFI Host Fires Back At Former Staffers, Management

A recently- fired KFI / Los Angeles host has launched a website to fire back at the environment which he says led to his ouster from the station.

John Ziegler, who held early evenings at the Southland mega- talker until November, has created The Real KFI to "share my version of the truth" about "the fraudulent nature of the local talk show hosts at the number one talk station in America."

Just two days after its launch, the site has already generated a decent amount of attention, with a number of Ziegler's former listeners alerting your Radio Equalizer to its existence.

Featuring a nothing- held- back barrage of criticisms of the talk radio business, his site contends that "the talk radio industry (and particularly KFI) is dominated by freaks, fakes, frauds and phonies who tend to make crack whores seem respectable and reputable by comparison." It tears into the station's top hosts without mercy.

KFI Program Director Robin Bertolucci did not respond to a request by your Radio Equalizer for a response to Ziegler's comments.

Among his contentions:

- The John & Ken Show is fundamentally fraudulent and makes professional wrestling seem credible in comparison

- John Kobylt made one of the most racist statements ever made by a person in his position and, in the opinion of John Ziegler, is a racist.

- There is a lot that John & Ken don't want you to know about how they do their show and determine what they are going to say

- Bill Handel is a fair-weathered “friend” who hates John & Ken but who committed one of the most massive acts of hypocrisy imaginable after strangely going out of his way to defend John Kobylt

- KFI management is utterly incompetent and corrupt

Reached via email, Ziegler explained his reasons for creating the site:

My only agenda here is to share my version of the truth about my story and the fraudulent nature of the local talk show hosts at the number one talk station in America. I believe this reality is pervasive in all of talk radio, but at its worst at KFI.

I am prepared for any and all consequences. I realize that I will probably never this level of the business again, and I am fine with that. I don't want to be part of a business that thinks that John and Ken and Bill Handel are stars and punishes people with principles. I don't even care that much how much impact the site has, I just want there to be a record of the truth so that people that care to find out, can learn what frauds these guys are. The reaction so far has been incredible and overwhelmingly positive from former listeners.

I hope that Clear Channel sues me because it is probably the only way that large numbers of people will learn what KFI is really all about, and I know that they could never win in court because everything I said is either factually true or my legitimate opinion. Unfortunately the suits at KFI are probably too smart to sue me, though I have overestimated their intelligence in the past.

For talk radio professionals, reactions are likely to be mixed: the obvious first thought is that Ziegler is disgruntled, but so are the vast majority of radio folks these days. At the same time, don't think for a moment others aren't looking at the site, as broadcast insiders are always looking for the inside scoop. Don't listen to those who claim they are "above" this sort of thing, they are lying.

As recently as a few years ago, sites like this probably wouldn't have been created, but with extreme industry cutbacks virtually wiping out talk radio opportunities, Ziegler and others now have little to lose by speaking out.

As to the validity of his claims, without having worked inside the building, it's hard to know what is true and what isn't. Since his termination, however, the station has considered replacement hosts with especially weak backgrounds, including a ratings- challenged former Seattle talker.

Whether accurate or not, Ziegler's assertions are sure to be eaten up by industry types always interested in the latest dirt.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

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  • For whatever it's worth, I tried accessing and am unable to do so. I don't know if it has been taken offline, had so much traffic that it has been overwhelmed or has something on it that my IE does not like and won't go there. Who knows? I'll continue trying.

    By Blogger Carl, at 12 January, 2008 15:33  

  • carl,
    I tried to make a mirror of the site as soon as I noticed it getting slow. I should have used Coral Cache. I did get the contents out of my cache and put it here:

    Unfortunately I was unable to grab the audio clips.

    By Anonymous jeffgus, at 12 January, 2008 17:55  

  • KFI had a perfectly good replacement in-house, but has gone with a loser who half-jokingly asked a caller if he "needed to kick his ass" in order to get the caller to get to the point. I took it as a true expression of the contempt this tool has for his audience. It was one of the ugliest moments I've ever experienced listening to the radio.

    The real loser at KFI is Leah Brandon. She is a real pro who developed an outstanding rapport with JZ. Now she has nothing whatever to do with this new moron who has moniker of "Johnny Suits" or some such. She reads the news and bails. I don't blame her in the slightest.

    By Blogger Ed, at 12 January, 2008 19:08  

  • Ed, did you mean Bryan Suits? He used to be at KVI, didn't impress our host very much:

    By Blogger Pat, at 13 January, 2008 02:14  

  • John Ziegler is a great example of somebody who had the world on a string but couldn't mind his own business and got caught up in pure B.S.

    Who cares if John and Ken are phonies: just shut-up and do your own show!

    By Blogger ttc, at 13 January, 2008 13:03  

  • Ziegler's story reads like a jealous,crying punk.

    KFI likes ratings and Kobylt is there for the paycheck! Wow,that is groundbreaking news!

    By Blogger moo slime, at 14 January, 2008 00:29  

  • The site is so inside baseball/office politics that I had very little interest in it.

    I also question his interpretation of the RamosCompean issue; while J&K might have cherry-picked and might be doing it to deflect criticism, only a few weeks ago the government finally arrested their star witness against the two agents for charges from 2005. If he'd been arrested before the agents' trials the outcome would probably have been different.

    And, who cares about Ken's personal life?

    I agree with him - and pointed out at my site - that they should not support Ruuudy. However, they did mention that they went to the fundraiser on the air, otherwise I wouldn't have known about it.

    And, it seems like JZ started some of the problems.

    And, PHS "failing" isn't entirely accurate: it did send a message. A large part of Dreier's win was because the Dems gave very little support to their candidate.

    Obviously, J&K's opposition to illegal immigration isn't as strong as I'd like it, and they do do a few questionable things, but overall they've had a great impact on this issue.

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 14 January, 2008 18:20  

  • Also, several people have said that J&K only discuss illegal immigration to get ratings. Their stock response goes something like: "of course we're doing it for ratings, it's a popular issue."

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 14 January, 2008 18:47  

  • John and Ken are dumbasses! I used to really like their show until I met them in person. The bile they spew on the radio reflects their flip-flopping views (ie. Hillary Clinton). I can't stand these numbnuts! Go JZ, I hope you land in at more respectable radio station.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28 January, 2008 13:13  

  • i really like JZ. he did a very good show and he and Leah were great together.i laughed and raged and cried and yelled "right on" many times. Leah is hot, too and i wish them both the best. i just wish that JZ had been able to control himself and realize that we have to put up with the Thorns as well as the Roses in this life, but that's the Radio Life!(i'm a talk radio freak) his closing Bush quote he had deserves to live on Forever! deserves

    By Anonymous Nick Ames, at 23 June, 2008 14:46  

  • C'mon Mr Z, we know that KFI is a business and as such must be a treasure trove of hipocracy, double dealing and shady practices. Anyone who has worked knows what businesses are like. As for John & Ken, I don't care if John is racist, most people have their biases, I'm more comfortable with those that don't hide them. As for Ken's sexual orientation, how is that my business? As for your former show, it sucked. I was so tired of hearing you rant about O.J. and blow Tiger Woods so that no one would think you were a racist I got bored. I'm glad Leah left too, she was a worse bootlicker than Robyn Quivers ever was.

    By Blogger Gerry V, at 09 June, 2009 18:58  

  • John Ziegler's attack on KFIAM 640 reminds me of a brat bully on the playground as a child, as the only intent was to attack and harm others while bringing attention to themselves. For some sad individuals, negative attention is better than NO attention. I was interviewed by John & Ken June 20, 2007 after the Internet predator who assaulted my daughter was sentenced to prison. They were kind and respectful, with an obvious understanding of the painful position I was in. Together we worked to bring a greater awareness to the dangers online and safety precautions for our children. With profound appreciation for your professionalism and compassion, thank you John and Ken.

    Danielle Helms

    By Blogger Danielle Helms, at 09 September, 2010 15:40  

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