Fight to Save WRAS Ramps Up: Benefit Concert, Graduation Protest, Petition & a Boycott Page
Efforts to save the student radio station at Georgia State University are ongoing and increasingly impassioned.
As I confirmed in a post last week, GSU officials surprised staffers and supporters of WRAS (88.5 FM) — known as Album 88 — by announcing they had struck a $150,000 deal to sell the station’s daytime programming rights to Georgia Public Broadcasting.
What this means from a college media perspective: Instead of overseeing around-the-clock programming enjoyed by listeners tuning into a powerful terrestrial station in greater Atlanta, GSU student radioheads will be forced to stream their content online during the day and only reclaim their analog kingdom at night (7 p.m. to 5 a.m.). The planned two-year contract with GPB may eventually lead to a more permanent, expansive takeover of all 24 hours of station programming.
To fight back against the impending loss of student control, staffers and supporters are staging a multi-pronged awareness campaign. As the campaign’s press liaison Chris Shattuck tells me, “We held a successful protest at graduation in front of the administration and thousands of friends and family of the graduating class; a group of more than 50 alumni met [Monday night] to discuss the long-term goals of the campaign; [and] we’re hosting a benefit concert this Thursday to support future organizing efforts and campaigns by the #saveWRAS movement.”
The GSU graduation protest included seniors decorating their commencement caps with expressions of WRAS support.
WRAS staffers have also released a statement detailing their opposition to the GPB deal and requesting a meeting with Georgia State’s president and a representative from GPB. As a portion of the statement reads:
“Not only is 100 hours of student programming being removed from our analog 88.5 FM in exchange for internships/30 minute student music program ‘opportunities’ but all of these changes were made without allowing any student input. While we understand the reasons for secrecy around ‘high stakes negotiations’ and respect GSU as the FCC licensee, failure to include students in the decision casts the administration as deaf to student voices.”
A boycott page on Facebook also now boasts more than 6,000 Likes. As it explains, “GPB is set to ruin WRAS 88.5. We will not let this happen without a fight. Boycott GPB and refuse to support their takeover of 88.5.”