By Andrew Davis
The local PBS station, WTTW-11, is weathering a storm of criticism over what many feel is a conspicuous lack of GLBT-centered programming during Pride Month.
Dan Soles, who is with the station's broadcasting department, told Windy City Times that the station has made some efforts. ' [ The program ] Power of Harmony ran in prime time and we pre-empted Frontline, one of our signature shows, for that.' He added that, 'Regarding new initiatives, we have some shows in June, but I'd hate to think that June is the only time that we'd air programming of interest to the gay and lesbian community. We have new programs that we'd like to schedule for the late summer and the fall.'
Many have also made inquiries about WTTW-11's airing of In the Life, which has been popular with the GLBT community for a number of years—and which the station had stopped airing after showing it for quite some time. ( In fact, In the Life has launched a station-relations campaign, asking why Chicago is the only top 20 media market where the show is not aired monthly. ) ' I know that people have had questions about [ that program ] , and we're starting to carry that monthly now [ and twice in June ] ,' Soles said. 'We've also worked out a deal with Comcast where it will be available with video-on-demand,' Soles said.
When asked about the relative dearth of gay programming in June as opposed to, say, African-American-based shows during Black History Month, Soles responded that 'PBS puts in a lot of prime-time programming in June so we're grabbing stuff from the archives. We're trying to increase our library so we'll have something more comparable to what we do with Black History Month or Hispanic Heritage Month. Certainly, [ showing ] three programs in one year is not what we're going to do here.'
The Power of Harmony was shown June 13 at 9 p.m., while the movie Brother to Brother aired June 13 at 10:30 p.m. and The Amasong Chorus Coming Out was shown June 16 at 10 p.m.