Atlanta NPR station slams Public Broadcasting deal

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt July 2, 2014


WABE, Atlanta’s NPR station, has said very little publicly about Georgia Public Broadcasting’s deal with Georgia State University to take over WRAS, the formerly student-run radio station

That changed on July 2 when Public Broadcasting Atlanta Board Chairman Louis Sullivan published an open letter saying that GPB is using the deal to undermine WABE.

“GPB has announced its plans to broadcast on WRAS two widely listened to National Public Radio (NPR) shows, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, at exactly the same time that WABE airs these programs,” Sullivan’s letter says. “This is an unwarranted duplication of service. It is a waste of Georgia’s tax dollars that could be better allocated elsewhere.”

Sullivan says that GPB and PBA should be collaborators, not competitors.

“The transaction begs the question of why GPB has pursued this arrangement,” the letter says. “The apparent reason is that, notwithstanding its very high amount of Georgia taxpayer funding, GPB desires to cut into PBA’s Atlanta community fundraising base. GPB’s management characterizes its actions as “competition.” Unfortunately, with this characterization, GPB is missing the mark badly.”

To read the whole letter, click here.

The move by GPB to broadcast over the university’s airwaves hasn’t gone over well since it was announced on May 6. The announcement was news to the students working at WRAS, who said they weren’t consulted beforehand. Alumni have attempted to convince GSU to reconsider the deal.

In response GSU announced, “Georgia State has hired engineers and other media consultants to pursue an alternate translator frequency for Album 88. Georgia State has remained committed to the partnership and GPB will begin broadcasting on 88.5 on the morning of June 29. The university will continue to pursue opportunities to restore Album 88 to its FM analog presence in Atlanta.”


About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Robert Butera

    WABE feels threatened, and they should. There is little popular demand for their current format, and they are the lamest NPR affiliate I have ever listened to. I suspect (but what do I know) that they need the drive-time NPR affiliation to reach the donors that keep them afloat. What GPB is proposing for progamming threatens their existence, because I suspect a lot of listeners will prefer what GPB is offering vs what WABE currently does.

    I wish it wasn’t the whole Album 88 debacle forcing their hand, and GPB had another vehicle to pursue this option.

    • blackbird13

      I totally agree. This probably wouldn’t have happened if WABE had ditched their format long ago. I don’t understand why they play so much classical music when there is so little interest in it here.

  • Dennis P

    I don’t understand why GPB and PBA could never settle their difference amicably, regardless, Atlanta was PBA’s territory and as the letter clearly points out, it’s not in the public interest for them to compete like this. It’s especially tragic that WRAS is caught in the middle of all this. I’m glad PBA finally came out and said something.

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