Revolt – GSU students protest station takeover
UPDATED at 4:34 pm on May 7:
Georgia State University officials on May 6 announced a “historic partnership” with Georgia Public Broadcasting that would bump programming on WRAS 88.5 off the air during the day.
Students and management are protesting the decision to move their programming to broadcast between 7 pm and 5 am, saying they weren’t consulted about the decision. They said GSU’s May 6 announcement took them by surprise.
“We as a staff are deeply saddened and want to apologize for these changes that, again, are completely out of our control,” WRAS employees said in a letter outlining their concerns. The students started a “boycott” page on Facebook that swelled to nearly 2,000 likes within hours. The page encouraged listeners of the station to contact GPB and GSU officials. There’s also a petition on Change.org with nearly 3,000 signatures.
Ana Zimitravich, former general manager of the station, said the contract with GPB has a 30 day termination clause. She said the goal of the boycott is convince GSU to reconsider.
“We’re trying to motivate our listeners and alumnus into scaring the vice president and the president into nullifying this contract,” she said.
Zimitravich believes that GSU wants to use the partnership to enhance its brand.
“I think that they did it to increase exposure for GSU. If they wanted money they would’ve just sold us. Our wattage is worth $25 million,” she said. “They want to use their assets to make a name for themselves and attract new students. It all boils down to money, but it’s sacrificing the integrity of the university and the radio station and the wishes of the students.”
Georgia Public Broadcasting also has not returned a message seeking comment.
GSU spokesperson Andrea Jones sent an emailed statement about the protest.
“While students are entrusted to run the station, WRAS is ultimately a university asset. This opens the door for longterm opportunities between GPB and Georgia State,” she said. “Terms of the contract evolved over time, and we shared the decision as soon as it was signed.”
To read the full statement from WRAS, click here.