Music Business

Everybody Needs NPR So Georgia State Is Ending Daytime Student Programming Of College Radio

Wras-logoSadly Georgia State administrators have been colluding with Georgia Public Broadcasting in an undemocratic fashion to attempt to replace daytime student programming of terrestrial broadcasts at student-run college radio station WRAS 88.5. Apparently this has been a very influential station for indie music in the States. Students and faculty appear to have been bypassed. And their trailblazing radio programming may now be replaced by more media for older white liberals with a literary bent.

Updated: Here are the people to contact if you wish to support WRAS.

The short version of what's happening at WRAS 88.5 at Georgia State University is that daytime programming is being given over to Georgia Public Radio.

The student-run station is considered historically important to indie music:

"WRAS is one of the most powerful college radio stations in the nation. Its signal is as strong as the law will allow; those 100,000 watts cover all of Atlanta’s sprawling metropolitan area. "

"When WRAS adds a new artist to its rotation, it gets a heavy boost on the CMJ charts, and other stations around the nation tend to follow suit. WRAS is vital to gaining exposure both locally and nationally for upcoming bands, and with its signal disappearing from radios its significance will shrink."

The decision was made without student input and officials are claiming, via the homepage of WRAS 88.5, that:

"This decision was not financially motivated. The university would have realized far greater compensation if it had simply sold its broadcast license. The number one priority in this partnership was the opportunity to expand internship and learning opportunities for students."

They also claim students will be able to get the same experience online:

"WRAS does not have to change any programming and the student broadcasting experience will be unchanged. GPB will not dictate any of the student programming content. Listeners will still be able to get WRAS programs, but during the day they will have to switch from an analog to a digital format, using laptops, the Web or apps to access the shows."

Easy peazy and all for the best!

This Story Is Not Over

The story of the undermining of WRAS 88.5 is not yet complete. Georgia Public Broadcasting was supposed to take over June 2nd and supply NPR programming and the like. But that transition was delayed till June 29 due to the uproar:

"the date is being moved back to allow the university to continue to work on resolving issues raised by the WRAS leadership in a May 16 meeting with President Mark P. Becker and university leaders, and for GPB to finalize production plans for new local programming.""

So they're basically saying they'll continue with plans after some minor adjustments. These periods tend to be about the institution attempting to appear responsive while making sure they have the support they need to continue as planned.

Radio station alumni have formed a nonprofit and are making moves of their own to support the ongoing fight.

How You Can Help

You can help by signing this petition and I would also suggest calling NPR since their programming is a big part of the mix and they're more vulnerable to national attention in many respects.

I'm not sure of the best point of contact but if you're a fan of a particular show, contact them and tell them that this maneuver is killing their brand. Some people are calling for a boycott of Georgia Public Broadcasting, which is a good move, but NPR needs to feel the pain as well.

PS – If you are boycotting keep in mind that your target needs to know that you're boycotting them and why or it's just a hollow gesture. You should also have a clear sense of what action they should take to end your boycott and make sure that's communicated clearly.

Updated: Here are the people to contact if you wish to support WRAS.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) also blogs at DanceLand. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY biz or marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. GREAT article! I am one of the angry public waiting for these underhanded corporate shirts to give up their sneaky ploy to take over WRAS! we do not want this! They need to give up and slither back to whatever slimy hole they crawled out of! We love wras, and we love the shows and the djs! The kids are great and we have learned so much about music and unknown bands from listening! Where else would we get that??? Other stations play the same subpar crap all day! Don’t take away the music from my family!

  2. WRAS is not about political affiliation, but student programming and music. The city does not need a duplicate NPR station at the expense of something truly unique to Atlanta and a cultural icon for more than 40 years.

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