Although his weekly television show is among the first to debut the hottest videos in country music, Gene Williams of the Gene Williams Country Music Television Show out of Branson and Nashville is the first television show to join the ban of playing the Dixie Chicks, following comments about President Bush by Natalie Maines, lead singer of the group, while in London, England.
"Fans across the nation are calling for a boycott of the Dixie Chicks. Natalie Maines has the freedom to express her opinion and has apologized. She made her remarks on foreign soil. Fans and radio stations are express their opinion and exercising their freedom. I support that and will not be playing Dixie Chick videos on my television show at this time," said Williams from his home in Sherwood, Ark. Williams is known for setting trends in the country music world videos from artists like Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Faith Hill, Toby Keith and, until now, the Dixie Chicks.
Maines remarked during a London Dixie Chick concert, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." She later apologized to President George W. Bush saying her remark was disrespectful. In Louisiana, a few hundred protesters used a 33,000-pound tractor/trailer to destroy Dixie Chick CDs and other items. One station in Kansas City, Mo. held a Dixie "chicken toss" where Chick critics were encouraged to dump the group’s tapes, CDs and concert tickets into trash cans. Houston country station KILT pulled the band’s records from its playlist temporarily after 77 percent of people polled on its Web site said they supported the move.
"My show is taped in Branson, Mo., the home of the Branson Veterans Task Force and one of the nation’s largest veterans celebrations in the country. It is aired in many areas from which troops have been deployed and loved ones are left waiting. It is fitting that we show support of Mr. Bush and our troops through this boycott," Williams said.
Williams’ show airs on WB 31 Springfield/Branson; Channel 4 KARK/NBC in Little Rock/Fort Smith and Shreveport, La., Channel 8 KAIT/ABC Jonesboro, Ark./Dallas, and Memphis, Tenn.; and on WB 58 Nashville.