Album 88 going off-air

Here is my article on my local college station going off the air.

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Sorry… I don’t know why it posted the whole story as opposed to just the link?

Okay… now it’s a link. sorry about that.

bumping this thread.

This is a big deal because WRAS is a 100,000 watt station and a powerhouse of alternative broadcasting in the South-East–which is notably culturally conservative–for four decades+. If you’re not familiar with FM wattages, look up your most powerful local commercial station’s wattage and note how many less zeros there are. It is fully non-commercial and it is (but will no longer be) student-operated. This is a game-changer for the whole region.

Mindysan and I learned that we are both longtime Album 88 listeners via a [thread][1] she made about the effects of last winter’s polar vortex storms crushing the south, which knocked out the station’s transmitter for a while. So when I heard the news about the switch, I went back to that thread to commiserate and that’s how she came to quote me on a few things in her article.

I’m sure happy mutants everywhere cut their musical teeth on college radio. Any support is appreciated.
[1]: Southern snow horror stories

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The most powerful commercial FM station here is 179 kW, but 100 kW is really powerful for a college station. It’s my understanding that new stations don’t get to go above 100 kW. For comparison, there’s a university and a college station locally. One is 6 kW, the other is 3 kW.

I wonder how much money Georgia Public Broadcasting thinks they’ll bring in. Presumably a lot more than the $150,000 they’re paying.

From what I understand, since 88.5 is on the low end of the broadcasting spectrum, it’s set aside for the public good, and $150,000 is the maximum that can change hands because of that - other wise, I bet GPB would have paid much for this. I point out that they are the main beneficiaries in this whole thing. This is their chance to break into the Atlanta market, which is relatively lucrative, from the stand point of donations.

They tried cutting a deal with the GA Tech station a few years ago and Tech told them to get lost because of student protest… I should have mentioned this in the article, but it’s kind of speculative, but @noahdjango might agree, the reason that Tech did that was because their student body is whiter and more well off than GSUs, which is blacker and more working class. In other words, there is a class and race dimension to this. One of the articles I link to eludes to that as well (one of the Creative Loafing ones?), but obviously, there is no hard evidence for it, no racist, classist smoking gun to point to, so I certainly hesitated. It does fit in with the narrative of Becker dictating to us, instead of listening to us. But I’d argue this indeed goes along with the whitening, middle classening (I know, not a word) and gentrification of Atlanta that has been going on since the Olympics. This sort of appropriation of a community resource by a more powerful set of interests fits in well with this narrative…

Oh, You know that Replacements song, Left of the Dial? That’s about Album 88.

Damn, is that in the US? A class C license from the FCC is 100kW, and that’s the limit. I don’t think they give them out commercially, but I could be wrong.

It wouldn’t surprise me if they learned a lesson from that too. I assume they announced this change once the semester was over and the majority of the students weren’t around. And I also assume that whatever negotiations were involved were very secretive.

That’s CFPL-FM 95.9 in London, Ontario. From what I was reading, 100kW is the limit here as well, but certain older stations were originally given licenses to go more powerful than that. Those stations are allowed to keep broadcasting at the higher power. Seems like the most powerful FM station in Canada and the US is WBCT in Grand Rapids, MI. It’s listed as 320kW. CKOI-FM in Montreal is 307kW.

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Yep to all that. The staff was told the day before the announcement was made, but only after the deal was signed. Keep in mind that the University administration has rarely had anything to do with the station and how it’s run. so despite the fact that the University officially owns the broadcast license, the staff–all students–see it as theirs, because they do literally everything to run the station. I think the big difference between Tech and GSU on this is that Tech actually consulted with the people who worked at and ran the station. Not so, with GSU - as you say, it was very secretive.

Also, as a grad student, my fees pay for the station, as does all the student fees. As someone who pays about $1000 a semester (this is not tuition, which is waived because of my GTA, but pure fees), I’d personally like a say in a resources that my money helps pay for… Also, it’s a public university, so since I’m a tax payer, too…

Becker is just an autocrat, looking to make GSU look more like a big 10 school (pour money into the black hole of athletics, etc), so he can get hired at one.

FYI - here are some more articles on the WRAS situation, for anyone who is following this. Here is Salon’s take on the situation. Someone wrote a screed about the staff playing it safe in the situation, including the fact that they decided not to appeal. And the date has been pushed back to later in the month.

Some of these address the same issues I do in my article.

that’s fucked up that Vanderbilt sold their station already. WRVU was the first college station I listened to, back when I was in high-school and getting it all figured out, music-wise. What the fuck did Vandy sell for? They’ve got enough dough; there’s no shortage of rich kids too dumb to go to a real ivy (joke. kinda.)

I don’t know, but if they were on the lower end of the spectrum, where most college and public stations are, then it probably wasn’t for much. I think GSU got the maximum they were allowed for “covering costs”, which was $150,000.

right, so my joke doesn’t even make sense, it couldn’t have been for the money. GSU seems to be doing it to raise their profile, like with building all the dorms and the damned football program. WREK told GPB to get lost because there was no upside for them. Vanderbilt has an even higher profile, so the motive is not clear. Whomever they sold to must be key? I reckon I’ll have to look it up.

Anyway, it’s a shame for the Music City to get an artery cut off.

EDIT: @Mindysan33 actually, there was a formidable payday

Vanderbilt Student Communications, a subsidiary of Vanderbilt University has sold 91.1 WRVU Nashville, TN to Nashville Public Radio for $3.35 Million.

Read more at:

again, not that Vandy needs the money, but greed is a good explanation in this case.

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