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Stations Reverse Course & Will Air Gay Positive Show

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Stations Reverse Course & Will Air Gay Positive Show

by Beth Shapiro, 365Gay.com New York Bureau

Posted: January 6, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(New York City) Four of the NBC stations that said they would refuse to broadcast "The Book of Daniel" tonight have reversed that decision and now say the show will air after all, but two new stations say they will join two others and reject the show.

The stations had all been targeted by the American Family Association which called the program "anti-Christian".

"The Book of Daniel" features one of primetime's few openly gay male characters, has a lesbian supporting character and is written by a gay screenwriter.

In a statement Friday afternoon KSNW in Wichita, Kansas, and its satellite stations, KSNG in Garden City, KSNC in Great Bend and KSNK in Oberlin, said that after it made its decision to refuse the program hundreds of emails and calls complaining about the move prompted management to change its mind.

All four stations are owned by Emmis Communications.

"We heard from both sides and decided to let viewers have a voice in determining the value of this program," said programming head Betty Erickson.

Thursday the company in a statement said that "as broadcasters using public airwaves and leaders in the community, we don't believe it's in the best interests of our community to air a program that a large number of our viewers find deeply offensive." (story)

But while the Emmis stations were deciding to run the show stations in Mississippi and Texas announced they would boycott the program.

KBTV in Beaumont, Texas, and WGBC in Meridian, Mississippi said Friday they would run the series.

Two other stations that announced on Wednesday after meeting with evangelical leaders that they would refuse to run the program (story) said Friday their decisions stood.

A another station, WBIR in Knoxville, also under pressure decided late Thursday to air air the series.

"We at WBIR find ourselves in a no-win situation," said WBIR-TV General Manager, Jeff Lee. "Regardless of our decision, some of our viewers will be upset. We don’t like upsetting even one viewer.

AFA Chair Donald E. Wildmon in an email this week to the group's supporters urged them to keep up the pressure.

Wildmon said he has learned that NBC having trouble securing sponsors for the program, something NBC denies.

"It appears that NBC will be forced to fill the available ad spots with 'distressed merchandise' ads which are sold at pennies on the dollar of the going rate, and with 'make good' ads which bring in no money to the network," said Wildmon.

Earlier this week the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called on its members to show support for the series which already has garnered good reviews. GLAAD is asking people to call the network and their affiliate stations and say they are looking forward to watching the series.

The AFA has a long history of boycotts and threats against companies that are perceived as gay friendly.

Earlier this month it got Ford Motor Corp. to pull its advertising from the LGBT media. (story) Following outrage from the gay community, and a hastily arranged meeting with the leaders of 19 LGBT rights groups in Washington, the company issued a statement claiming it had been misunderstood and the ads would not be cancelled. (story

The AFA boycotted Proctor and Gamble last year after the Cincinnati-based P&G supported the repeal of an anti-gay law in that city. (story)

In April AFA declared victory over Proctor & Gamble after the company ended most of its advertising in the gay media. (story) The group claimed that more than 300,000 people had signed pledges not to buy P&G products.

The effect on P&G is believed to be one of the major reasons Microsoft decided to withdraw its support of a gay rights bill in the state of Washington following a meeting with a conservative Christian leader. (story) Following outrage from the company's gay workers and LGBT rights groups in Washington the company reversed course again and announced it would support gay rights measures in the future. (story)

In May, the AFA took aim at Kraft Foods - stopping just short of calling for a full boycott - for sponsoring the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. (story) Kraft has not budged in its support for the games.

Earlier this year the AFA ended a nine year boycott of Disney called over Gay Days at the company's theme park in Orlando, Florida. Most people in the industry said the boycott had a negligible effect on Disney.

©365Gay.com 2006

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