The Dave Ryan Show’s “Thirty Hmongs in a House” keeps costing KDWB-FM advertisers. This week, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Minnesota joined Health Partners and ATT in suspending advertising over the parody song, says Pam Lux, the health plan’s vice-president of marketing and communication.
Blue Cross did not advertise on Ryan’s show — “morning shows are not the best fit,” Lux notes — but had a campaign running on KDWB. It has been suspended indefinitely until Clear Channel, which owns KDWB, outlines steps in writing to improve diversity training and inclusion, as well as improve on its initial disingenuous apology.
Resumption “depends on when we get a response,” Lux says.
“Thirty Hmongs” included verses such as “First baby at 16/ Seven kids by 23/ Over the hill by 30/ Like sardines they live.”
When community members objected, KDWB issued the classic non-apology apology, noting, “While we’ve received positive feedback from many Hmong listeners who let us know that they found the song in question very humorous, we apologize to anyone we may have inadvertently offended, as this was never our intent.”
Lux says Blue Cross expects more. “One reason we did suspend is that we felt the first [apology] was not adequate, and one thing we are looking for is a more sincere apology to the audience,” she states.
After a conversation with local Clear Channel general manager Mike Crusham, Lux feels that’s coming. “He was absolutely sorry — that was my assessment. He was very sincere, very sincere about getting input on how to improve. I just asked him to put it in writing.”
Crusham was not available for comment Thursday morning.
Blue Cross’s internal diversity council pushed the move, as did individual employees, and no staffers have objected, Lux states. She adds that Blue Cross sees their action as a way to help KDWB “be sincere and accountable.”