More on the GPB hostile take over of WRAS in Atlanta

For those of you who were keeping up with the take over of Georgia State University’s radio station, WRAS, by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), the local alt-weekly had an interview this week with the head of GPB Teya Ryan about her meeting with the students who run WRAS:

In case you’re not away of this, see this topic and this article I wrote about it.


this woman is a snake.

Seems like. The whole interview, she refused to accept that she bears any responsibility for what happened, or that we’ve lost something here in Atlanta. it’s depressing that such people are running public radio.


Yeah, read like she was putting all responsibility on the university. Clueless. Not even an acknowledgement that perhaps something was being lost because of what was happening to WRAS.

Oddly, when I lived in Savannah, GPB (WSVH) was the only half-decent radio station that existed (couldn’t get WRAS, evidently) - there was literally not one music station I wanted to listen to. Still have a chuckle when I think about the Georgia Historical Society’s (based right by my old house!) Today In Georgia History slots, which always seemed to be about some terrible old racist.

I remain delighted that Seattle still has KEXP as a good independent music station, because the commercial options are dreadful (although I have my concerns about how much the two main DJs get paid for what is a community funded station - or, indeed, why they pay for repeated jollies to Iceland and New York).

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The Atlanta NPR state, WABE (Atlanta Public Broadcasting) actually has a great occasional history program with one of the profs in my department, and it’s usually very well done and interesting. Rarely is it about dead racists, but usually about big events in local history - political, African American, gay, cultural, etc - I always learn something about the city when I listen:

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John B. Gordon

Enormously popular, Gordon served as governor and U.S. Senator, and was rumored to have been the head of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.

The man who became the living embodiment of the Confederacy was sworn in as Georgia’s governor on November 9, 1886, Today in Georgia History.

What you’re talking about sounds much better :smile:

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Oh mercy… :-/

Cliff’s great. If you ever happen to be in Atlanta on the third sunday of the month, he does a tour of the sites downtown that were part of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot.

If a xenomorph had a lawyer I suspect it would sound rather like her.

That said, though, even if she just oozed charm and warmth in the interview, I’m baffled as to how this ‘deal’ passed the laugh test.

What value, exactly, did GPB actually put on the table? ‘Unprecedented access’ sounds sort of neat, except that I’m hard-pressed to think of what additional access a public radio station could provide to a major area university that they wouldn’t already provide either because of their own needs (surely they need interns and new people from somewhere, and locally available students are fairly obvious candidates) or because of the need to at least appear to be fulfilling their mandate (if you depend on the state and Listeners Like You, a messy battle about why you won’t even let interested students studying related areas look at your studio would probably be bad).

Compared to the fairly definite value of access to a large and well placed timeslot on a chunk of spectrum in a good size city, I find it difficult to understand how this deal could be seen as mutually beneficial, even from the perspective of a university willing to throw the student radio station under the bus to beef up their journalism program or something of that nature.

Is the deal in fact this one sided, or do I overestimate the value of the spectrum or underestimate the scarcity and exclusiveness of public radio gigs?


No, you’re spot on. I like WABE and think they have a great mix of local and national NPR/PRI programming (that’s the other public radio station). Plus, we have an even more independent public radio station, WRFG, which plays some more radical programming. So, no, we really didn’t need GPB broadcasting. We lost something incredibly valuable when Album 88 went off the airwaves from 5 to 7 every single day. And then, to add insult to injury, I listen to WRAS on Tune-in on my phone and a couple of weeks ago, I turn it on only to hear GPB! turns out they took that over too (though there is another channel on Tune-in for WRAS, which I switched to but it happened with no forewarning and I was pissed).

From what I understand, GPB’s ratings have been pretty low since they took over the airwaves - I guess they expected the listeners to just accept that their programming radically changed. We really didn’t need GPB in the city on the radio, but they’ve been looking to break into Atlanta for a while. They tried this with GA Tech’s radio station, but their university backed the station up when they said no - our students got no such opportunity, as the deal was essentially made in secret. I’d suspect that the demographics of the two schools played a role in all this - GSU is definitely blacker and more working class than Tech.

Honestly, I think that if they had worked with the students from day one, something could have been worked out on this. But the students who run the station learned a day before the rest of us did. But she’s right in that President Becker bears much of the responsibility for this. He sees the station as his own property, I guess, to do with as he wills, since the university owns the broadcasting license. It’s my hunch that by bringing more public broadcasting options to the city, he imagined that the liberal establishment would just line up behind him, and see him as a hero. But he ignores how many of the people in Atlanta love music…


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