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Open Mike - Broadcasting & Cable

Open Mike

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Unwrapping the Issue

Editor: I would like to respond to your editorial criticism of The WB Television Network for not accepting condom commercials, prompted by the Kaiser Foundation study "Condom Ads on Television: Unwrapping the Controversy" released June 19 ("Truth and Consequences," June 25).

Permit me to make several points. The WB Television Network works closely and actively with our program producers to incorporate safe-sex and condom messages into our programming. We have welcomed input from health professionals to explore issues of sexuality, particularly among teens, in a responsible and relatable way.

As to airing condom commercials:

First, The WB Television Network has a partnership with its broadcast affiliates around the country. Many of these affiliates choose not to air condom advertising, and we respect their decision as to what is appropriate for their market.

Second, the Kaiser Foundation study's national survey does indeed conclude as you state that almost three-quarters of viewers approve of airing condom commercials. The exact figure is 71%. However, if you subtract from the figure the 34% who say condom ads should be restricted to post 10 p.m. and combine it with those opposed to any airing of condom commercials (25%), you have a majority of 59% opposed to condom ads during the hours The WB is on the air in prime time, since our prime time schedule ends at 10 p.m.

Third, since our prime time schedule does terminate at 10 p.m., in your editorial we are unfairly negatively compared with the late-night-only (post 11 p.m.) condom-advertising policies of NBC and CBS (with only Fox airing commercials in prime time and ABC not airing network condom advertising at all).

We take our responsibility as leader in teen/young-adult programming very seriously. Indeed, I flew to New York to speak at the press briefing accompanying the release of the Kaiser study (and was the only network executive present). I support the efforts of the Kaiser Foundation in this area and applaud that BROADCASTING & CABLE has chosen to so vocally also support the need for greater safe-sex/condom-awareness efforts by broadcasters.

Rick Mater, senior vice president, Broadcast Standards, The WB Television Network

The sins of Gay TV

Editor: I disagree with you. No gay TV channel is needed. ("What? No gay channel," P.J. Bednarski column, June 25)

Homosexuality is a sin. Read the Bible. I am so glad I don't subscribe to BROADCASTING anymore if you think that a gay TV channel is good. I read BROADCASTING cover-to-cover in the 1960s and '70s.

God loves the homosexual, the abortionist, the killer, and others who sin. But He hates the sin. The gay lifestyle is a sin. You should not be promoting a sinful lifestyle in your column. God condemns sexual activity outside of marriage of a man and woman. Read about what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah in the book of Genesis.

Television has turned into a vaster wasteland than Newton Minow ever imagined. Online I have looked at the fall schedules of most of the major networks, plus the CBC in Canada. It seems there is little to be excited about this coming September. I used to be excited about the fall season when I worked at KING-TV, KLEW-TV, and Idaho Public Television.

Al Gius, Pocatello, Idaho

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