Ex-WFAA anchor Brad Hawkins charged with public lewdness after Flagpole Hill incident

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Brad Hawkins worked as a reporter and anchor for WFAA from 2000 until 2008, when he joined Southwest Airlines.

Former WFAA anchor Brad Hawkins, now a spokesman for Southwest Airlines, was arrested Monday on a charge of public lewdness after an incident at Flag Pole Hill Park, The Dallas Morning News reports. We’ve posted the full police report here. As best I can tell, the 37-year-old Hawkins has been out as gay for at least a few years, which raises the obvious question: What in the hell was he thinking? Anyhow, I’ve contacted Hawkins’ attorney, Pete Schulte, who told me via text message that he’ll be in court and unavailable all day. Here’s what Schulte told The Dallas Morning News: “We believe that Mr. Hawkins is not guilty, and we ask that public opinion be withheld until the facts are known.” Unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s a little late for public opinion to be withheld. The first three gay people I saw this morning asked me, “Hey, did you hear about Brad Hawkins?” Well aren’t we a gossipy bunch? But my other question here is, why is this newsworthy for The Dallas Morning News? Would they treat a straight person being arrested on a class-A misdemeanor charge the same way? I also have concerns about the arrest itself, but I’m told we’re never going to win this argument. Hawkins was arrested after he pressed an undercover officer’s hand, over the clothing, against his erect penis, according to the report. When the officer pulled his hand away, Hawkins said, “Sorry, I just wanted you to know how horney (SIC) you made me, and I wanted to feel your hand so later when I blow I have a thought to go by.” Hawkins then allegedly invited the undercover officer to meet him at his house for sex. Hawkins got on his bicycle and rode away, but police came to his house later and arrested him. Sexual contact, even when it’s over the clothing, has been interpreted as public lewdness by Texas courts. Here’s the definition of public lewdness under the penal code:

§ 21.07 PUBLIC LEWDNESS. (a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly engages in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his:
(1) act of sexual intercourse;
(2) act of deviate sexual intercourse;
(3) act of sexual contact; or
(4) act involving contact between the person’s mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl.

—  John Wright

Belo markets are more likely to have LGBT mayors than any other media company

Belo

Belo, owner of the Dallas Morning News, owns newspapers in three markets and 21 television stations in 15 markets. In most of those TV markets, the Belo station is the top-rated or second station in that city.

Those markets are more likely to have an LGBT mayor than cities with any other media company.

The three largest cities in the United States with LGBT mayors are Houston (Annise Parker), Portland, Ore. (Sam Adams) and Providence, RI (Providence, R.I.).

KHOU in Houston is the Belo-owned CBS affiliate. Portland’s KGW is the Belo-owned NBC affiliate. In Providence, Belo owns the Providence Journal, the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the United States.

In Dallas, where openly gay candidate Ed Oakley came in second out of 11 candidates in the last mayoral election, Belo owns the Dallas Morning News and WFAA (Channel 8, the ABC affiliate). While Oakley did not win, Matt Ganssle of Kemp, Tex., within Belo’s Dallas market, did win his race for mayor along with Jerry Hazelip, now a Kemp city council member.

The other major media companies in these top LGBT-electing cities do not come close to Belo’s record. The Houston Chronicle, that city’s newspaper, is owned by Hearst. While Hearst publishes papers in other liberal cities like San Francisco and Albany, N.Y., the closest those cities have come is gay-friendly Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, who spoke at this year’s Black Tie Dinner. The TV stations are owned by ABC, Fox and Post-Newsweek Stations.

In Providence, TV stations are owned by LIN broadcasting, Media General and Global Broadcasting. The biggest of these is Media General with stations located mostly in the Southeast.

Portland’s other TV stations are owned by Fisher Communications, New Vision Television and Meredith Corporation. The newspaper, The Oregonian, is owned by the Newhouse Group.

None of these other media companies operate in as many LGBT-mayoral-electing cities.

But is there any link? None whatsoever. At least not in helping them get elected. In Dallas, the Morning News endorsed Tom Leppert, who won, over Oakley. In Houston, while Hearst’s Chronicle got the polling right on target, Belo’s KHOU’s poll had Parker finishing third.

—  David Taffet

ABC's 'Modern Family' premieres tonight

Arnold wanted to be sure everyone remembered tonight’s premiere of Modern Family on WFAA Channel 8 tonight. Apparently it’s the gayest show of the season (that’s not a reality show or Cougartown) and also the funniest. The show sounds like the bizarro comedic alter ego of Brothers and Sisters but the gay characters here seem to run the show. The L.A. Times gave the new show some sweet props and describes the same-sex couple as…

…the sparkling centerpiece of the family is Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), who, with his partner, Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), has just adopted a baby girl from Vietnam. High-strung by nature, Mitchell is suddenly torn by feeling they are too gay to raise a child — “We’ve got to stop having friends with names like Jacques,” he says — and furious at anyone who might possibly feel the same way. Cameron, meanwhile, is content to go more Zero Mostel, in word, deed and totally fabulous silk robe, creating a naturally occurring updated version of “The Odd Couple.” In the pilot, theirs are the funniest segments, particularly the introduction of the baby to the rest of the family, though Bowen and Burrell run a very close second.

—  Rich Lopez

Cathedral of Hope to change time slot on WFAA this month

The times they are a changin’.

Reverend Dr. Jo Hudson mentioned yesterday that Cathedral of Hope’s broadcast will change times as of July 12. They’ll move from Sunday morning airings at 11 a.m. to Sunday EARLY mornings at 12:35 a.m. Hudson said doing this is going to save them bundles of money on broadcasting costs.

I just spoke with Paul Taylor, director of communications for CoH and he says that the money it took to produce and air cost them about $7,500 a week. “We were thrilled to have that time slot. It’s prime time for them on Sunday morning. But it is very expensive,” he said.

Initially, COH jumped on the opportunity when it was presented to them by WFAA. However, because of the expense, they contacted the channel about less expensive options. WFAA came back with the 12:35 a.m. time slot after “Monk” on Saturday nights. “It sounded great and it is much less money, just over $1,000. Plus, the potential audience doubles,” Taylor said.

Which seemed a little far-fetched but not so much after Taylor explained the case.

“We’ve been averaging 30,000 viewers according to the Nielsen ratings. That time slot (12:35 a.m.), averages about 58,000 viewers and that’s with an infomercial. Plus, we could be reaching a whole new audience,” he said. He figured the night owls who are just getting in or those about to go out might just have the TV on to wind down or get ready to. “It’s a great thing for us,” he said.

Their last 11 a.m. airing will be July 12. Taylor is working to have a 12:35 a.m. airing that same day but right now July 19 will be the official first day of the broadcast time.

—  Rich Lopez