University-affiliated radio station WXPN is fully cooperating with the Philadelphia Human Rights Commission's inquiry into charges that the station discriminated against gay radio show host Bert Wylen, University officials said last week. Acting Vice President for University Life Valerie Swain Cade-McCoullum said last week she believes the station should not follow its current agreement with WKHS-FM, a Maryland radio station, which kept Wylen's show Gaydreams off the air. In addition, WXPN General Manager Mark Fuerst said that the allegedly discriminatory contract with WKHS has not, in reality, been signed. The "contract" is merely a letter of agreement. Wylen, who hosts the Sunday night show, filed a discrimination complaint against WXPN last month, claiming that because the station entered into a contract with the Maryland station allowing it to drop his programming, it is discriminating against him because of his sexual orientation. Fuerst would not comment specifically on whether he has made any progress in convincing the Maryland station to air Gaydreams. But, he did say that WXPN has not yet completed its contract negotiations with WKHS. "I've had private conversations which I can't comment on right now," said Fuerst. "I don't think any amount of publicity right now would be helpful in resolving the situation." McCoullum said that although WKHS should have the freedom to choose which WXPN programs to broadcast, the Maryland radio station should not discriminate against members of the community. "In my opinion, to specifically name those programs makes a disparate adverse effect on an important part of the community," McCoullum said. "I recommended that we should not follow the [original] contract." WKHS, which broadcasts out of Kent County High School in the rural town of Worton, signed a letter of agreement 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. According to McCoullum, WXPN has devised a national marketing strategy to promote all of its programs, including the gay and lesbian programs. "All shows have good marketing potential," McCoullum said. Fuerst said that although the music show World CafZ is carried on 68 stations nationwide, he could not comment on the market WXPN's gay and lesbian programs have because they are not syndicated.Comments powered by Disqus
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