Still WRASlin’ – Struggle continues over station
The students who run Georgia State University’s WRAS 88.5 aren’t licked yet, and there are signs they may be gaining ground in their push to keep control of the station.
The controversy has been ongoing since early May, when GSU announced its historic partnership with GPB, a move that outraged many alumni who had worked at WRAS.
There have been several developments within the last week that are to the students’ advantage as they fight to prevent a takeover by Georgia Public Broadcasting.
The biggest news came on May 30, when GSU announced that the takeover date was postponed from June 2 to June 29.
In a statement, GSU said, “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.”
Chris Shattuck, who has served as spokesman for the students during the takeover drama, said the delay is a good sign.
“It gives us more time to fight the takeover by more extensively pouring over records, exploring legal strategies and getting on the Board of Regent’s agenda to discuss the deal,” Shattuck said.
On June 2, an alumni group joined the fray.
According to a press release, the Album 88 Alumni formed as a nonprofit group that will actively work to maintain student control of the station.
“Our main goal is the same as GSU President Mark Becker’s,” Album 88 Alumni president Zachary Lancaster said in the press release. “We want to give GSU students who work at WRAS the best possible opportunities to learn about radio, music production and broadcasting. But we believe giving most of the daily broadcast hours to GPB will reduce, not expand, the opportunities for students to learn. For 43 years, Album 88 has represented a unique format in Atlanta, which GSU’s contract with GPB would silence and replace with talk radio content in a market already saturated with such programming.”
The Signal, GSU’s independent newspaper, also added some extra layers of complexity to the controversy by digging up emails that show talks between GPB and the university date back to 2012, and that GPB first made its pitch in 2008.