Cable networks have often been commended for tackling controversial issues and creating programs for the minority audience. A station such as BET caters to the African-American audience, while Lifetime and Oxygen primarily reflect female stories and themes. However, why doesn’t there exist a station for the gay community? Well, that’s about to change!

In the Jan. 10 edition of the New York Times, Viacom networks, MTV and Showtime, announced their plans to launch a new gay cable channel. The unnamed channel will be a pay channel like HBO and Showtime, but will be cheaper, at about $5 to $6 a month.

To date, no station has ever been created solely for the gay and lesbian community in America.

According to the New York Times article, a Showtime executive stated that there was “near unanimous enthusiasm from gay viewers” for the new concept.

While junior Dan Lioy, co-director of UR’s newly-named Pride Network, shares this supposed enthusiasm, he has some concerns as well. He posits that the existence of a such a channel is long overdue, but raises questions about the nature of the content that will be presented.

Lioy hopes that the station will help bring gays into mainstream media, without giving attention to the negative stereotypes that already exist on television.

The idea for the channel has yet to be presented to cable and satellite distribution networks. Furthermore, no timetable for the channel’s creation has been set. However, senior vice president of the MTV digital media group Gene Falk, is optimistic. “If things go right, we could be on within the year.”

Undoubtedly, the networks will have to overcome many objections, but if done correctly and tastefully, a new gay channel could propel the status of the gay and lesbian community forward.

With the addition of this channel, MTV can finally live up to its reputation of reflecting the lifestyles of America’s youth. It’s about time!

Reyhani can be reached at mreyhani@campustimes.org.



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