GPB Enters Atlanta Radio Market In Historic Partnership With Georgia State University

Posted On May 6, 2014
Categories Campus News

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) will make its long-awaited debut on the Atlanta radio airwaves this June through a programming partnership with Georgia State University station WRAS 88.5 FM. The new alliance was announced today (May 6) at GPB’s Atlanta headquarters by GPB President and CEO Teya Ryan.

GPB Radio and Georgia State will share the broadcast schedule on WRAS, with GPB offering public radio programming on WRAS daily from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Public service announcements promoting the university will air during that time. From 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., the station will continue to be programmed by Georgia State students.

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Daytime radio broadcasting of Album 88, the student radio station, will be streamed live online. Georgia State also will have unprecedented access to GPB’s resources through one of GPB’s digital television stations to showcase student productions and other Georgia State content from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day. Plans also include a student produced weekly half-hour magazine radio program about music. Georgia State’s home football games will continue to be broadcast live on the station.

The partnerships call for GPB’s programming schedule to be dedicated to news and information. The programming will be a mix of nationally produced programs from public radio providers, including National Public Radio (NPR), Public Radio International (PRI) and American Public Media (APM), and locally produced news programming to include a local talk show anticipated to begin in fall 2014.

“This new partnership is a proverbial win-win and opens the door for future collaboration,” said Dr. Mark P. Becker, Georgia State president. “Our students will have new and exciting opportunities in the changing media landscape, and this partnership allows both GPB and Georgia State to better serve the metro Atlanta region as well as the state.”

The daily public radio programming on WRAS marks the first time in GPB’s 54-year history the network has been able to enter the Atlanta radio market. Known for its superior radio news and information coverage statewide, GPB will bring the same quality programming to the Atlanta market. GPB serves public television and radio audiences across Georgia with nine television stations and 17 radio stations.

“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” Ryan said.

GPB will also use the talents and resources of its award-winning reporters and bureaus across the state to generate news and information programming.

GPB’s newly developed programming partnership with Georgia State is the latest relationship it has forged with a university affiliate. GPB partners with Mercer University through their Center for Collaborative Journalism, and the Macon radio station is on the Mercer campus. Other affiliations include GPB’s Augusta station on the campus of Georgia Regents University, GPB Athens on the campus of the University of Georgia, GPB Savannah at Armstrong Atlantic State University and a Carrolton station on the campus of the University of West Georgia.

“At our core, GPB is an educational institution,” Ryan said. “This partnership will provide statewide recognition for the university, and provide enormously exciting opportunities for Georgia State students. We look forward to working with professors and students in creating both radio and television programming. In addition to our radio presence, our network of nine television stations and vast digital offerings will provide students with the chance to learn about the growing emphasis on multi-platform journalism and collaborate with our award-winning reporters and producers.”

As one of the largest PBS stations in the nation, Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Media), has been creating content worth sharing for over 50 years. With nine television stations, 17 radio stations and a multi-faceted web presence, GPB strives to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of our viewers and listeners with programming that includes statewide radio news, current affairs, high school sports, educational resources for teachers and students and enlightening programs about our state like Georgia Outdoors, Georgia Traveler and On the Story.

ABOUT Georgia State:
Georgia State University, an enterprising public research university in the heart of Atlanta, is a national leader in graduating students from diverse backgrounds. Its location in downtown Atlanta provides its more than 32,000 students with unsurpassed connections to the city’s business, government, nonprofit and cultural communities as well as opportunities in an environment of varied ideas, cultures, ages, lifestyles and experiences. Atlanta, home to more than a dozen headquarters of Fortune 500 companies, provides Georgia State’s faculty with an urban laboratory, enabling them to draw creative inspiration and address critical societal issues locally and in cities around the world.

FAQ: The Georgia State, Georgia Public Broadcasting Partnership

Was the decision to enter a partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) based on financial gain for the university?

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.

Will Georgia Public Broadcasting now control programming previously done by students at WRAS?

No. 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.

How does this partnership benefit the university and its students?

The partnership will help raise Georgia State’s profile around the state in the areas where GPB broadcasts. Student programming will be aired weekly network-wide across Georgia. The transition from daytime GPB programming to WRAS could also bring new listeners to the station. David Cheshier, chair of the Communications Department, said, “GPB’s commitment to build its high quality news operation in concert with us, and to expand internships and broadcast distribution of our best student work, will enrich the city’s informational ecosystem. The opportunity to work more closely with a world-class public broadcasting organization will benefit GSU's nearly 2,000 film and journalism majors and the city for decades to come.

Why weren’t students informed earlier about this agreement?

Students and GPB employees were informed the day after the agreement was finalized. While students are entrusted to run the station, WRAS is ultimately a university asset. This opens the door for long-term opportunities between GPB and Georgia State. Terms of the contract evolved over time, and the university shared the decision as soon as it was signed.