Claremore Daily Progress

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October 2, 2012

Station prevents protests at Townsend memorial

CLAREMORE —  

Kansas’ Westboro Baptist planned to protest the Friday funeral of  Pfc. Jon Townsend, 19,  who was killed in action near Kabul, Afghanistan. 
A Tulsa area morning show “The Morning After” from 106.9 K-Hits then went on air with a plea to convince the church to re-consider.  
The station offered an opportunity for the church to go on the air and share their views in exchange for agreeing to not protest PFC Townsend’s funeral.
Westboro Baptists appeared on the show Friday after agreeing to abstain from the funeral protest that same morning.
“Immediately, we saw a passionate reaction from the audience, both good and bad,” said Program Director Jet Black.  “While we don’t personally agree with their stance on the issues they continue to push, we felt like it was the least we could do to respect our fallen soldier.”
The morning show hosts were also overwhelmed by the response.
“It still amazes me that every person responded with a positive story about PFC Townsend.  Hearing about the affect he had on people, having this church on the air with us, just so they wouldn’t protest Jon’s funeral seemed like the right thing to do.” said Austin, the show’s anchor.
Journal Broadcast Group Vice President/Market Manager Bill Berry said “No family should have to endure this type of harassment at such a difficult time.”
Townsend was buried at Lone Chapel Cemetary in Adair following the funeral services at First Baptist Church in Claremore.

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