Georgia State’s Independent Radio Station Suffers GPB Takeover
As an independent radio station, we pride ourselves on being just that- independent. We play music we want our listeners to hear, not for good ratings, but for other independent music fans to have a go-to radio station that’s local and will never play the latest Ke$ha or Katy Perry song. Georgia State University’s radio station thrived with the same mentality, until May 5th 2014, when GSU and Georgia Public Broadcasting signed a contract to transform the radio station completely. The contract allotted a 14-hour time slot, 5AM to 7PM, to GPB where airtime will taken away from student DJ’s and given up to local news and traffic reports, along with pre-recorded NPR and Public Radio International segments. Teya Ryan, GPB CEO and president, said in a statement:
“The programming partnership between GPB and Georgia State will give us the opportunity to provide the highly desired all-news and information public radio schedule not previously available to Atlantans during the most important radio hours”
The students will re-gain control from 7PM to 5AM and will be free to air their regular programming while the city sleeps. The deal is a two-year partnership and went into effect on June 2nd. How does the station feel about the takeover? Take it from their numerous protests and efforts to stop the deal from developing, and their graduation caps painted with “#SAVEWRAS” at commencement, the student’s aren’t happy. The station is 43 years old; it’s part of the heart of GSU. Not only does the takeover take away their ability to provide an alternative to mainstream music, it limits the student employees’ opportunity to gain experience in broadcasting and journalism.
Like 1190 gives a voice to CU, WRAS was the voice of Georgia State University, it gave the town a certain authenticity that came from spirited students streaming independent music. The takeover affects the students as well as the community, and takes away a charm from WRAS that, with NPR and PRI pieces replacing student-written shows, they will struggle to maintain.
On June 16th, Georgia State and numerous other college radio stations participated in a solidarity broadcast to raise awareness and protest against this growing trend. Read more about the takeover and student protests here and here.
Radio 1190 gives Georgia State our full support throughout this unfortunate time, and we hope that this kind of syndication doesn’t spread any further. Long live independent radio!