WXPN radio-show host Bert Wylen filed a discrimination complaint against the University-affiliated station last week with the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission. Wylen, who hosts the gay-issues program, Gaydreams, on Sunday nights, claims WXPN is discriminating against him because of his sexual orientation. By allowing a Maryland radio station which broadcasts the WXPN signal to drop his show from its programming, Wylen alleges, the University radio station is discriminating against him because he is gay. "WXPN is morally and ethically required to make a statement in support of my programs," said Wylen. He added that while discrimination is difficult to prove, he hopes public pressure will force his program back on the air in Maryland. WKHS-FM , which broadcasts out of Kent County High School in the rural town of Worton, signed a contract with WXPN last September to broadcast the WXPN signal in return for free use of its programs. After reviewing the content of the programs, the Kent County School Board, which controls WKHS's programming, decided not to air Wylen's show, as well as the lesbian-issues program, Amazon Country, which precedes it. "I believe at the present time people are comfortable with the idea that the station in Maryland has a legal right to make decisions regarding what programs they will or will not broadcast," said WXPN General Manager Mark Fuerst. "Our working with them does not constitute discrimination." Fuerst added that he does take the issue of gay and lesbian rights seriously, and said he will explore the option of putting pressure on WKHS to revise its programming. "We'll do everything we can to analyze the complaint and look at the merits of the case to see what an appropriate response is," he said. In his complaint, though, Wylen claims that WXPN had no business entering into a contract with WKHS because they discriminate against gays and lesbians and deny him the same opportunities for audience expansion given to other radio hosts. "The contract violates University code," he said. "It violates my civil rights." According to Fuerst, the Kent County School Board decided to drop the two programs, not because its members disagreed with giving gay-issues air time, but because they were afraid the programs were too sexually explicit. "The shows are about gay and lesbian life," Fuerst said. "Naturally, there is a certain amount of sexuality in the programs." Wylen, however, denies that his show is sexually explicit in any way and asserts that his program is a "family show" that only rarely discusses sex. "That disgusts me," he added, referring to the assumption that because his show is about gay issues, it is sexually explicit.Comments powered by Disqus
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