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Comment Archives: Stories: Special Sections: 20 People to Watch

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

"I've already had complaints that we're a conservative shield and a liberal shield,"

I think you meant 'shill' !

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by lwc30326 on 01/24/2015 at 4:07 PM

Re: “Rob Haze: The comedian

Hell ya, Rob is hilarious!

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by ABearComedian on 01/15/2015 at 11:11 AM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

We appreciate all of your hard work Max. As for Adam, I think Penn State needs a new Title IX coordinator. SobSax is right, the complacency we as citizens display to those in power emboldened them further. The real story will never come from softballs like Celeste who fear tyrants like Teya, it takes real ethics and guts to bite the hand that feeds you in Georgia. Here is one of many examples...

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ATLien on 01/08/2015 at 10:33 AM

Re: “Amanda Rhein: The parking lot nemesis

She stole my idea! I've been talking about that for years. Actually, I'm glad she did. I support it 100%.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Curt Johnston on 01/07/2015 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

Hey everyone. Just to chime in here. This is a profile of Celeste, and one with a short(ish) word count. So it was focused on Celeste. Of course, I asked her about the deal. Her answer was along the lines of the fact she wasn't privy to the deal prior to its announcement. And it didn't make the finished story, not because it wasn't important, but because I felt like there are other places to cover the deal in a more in-depth fashion. CL's covered the WRAS deal at every step of the way. And we'll continue to do so.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by MBlau on 01/06/2015 at 9:55 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist


GPB’s ethical lapses have been known for some time. Celeste chose to accept a lucrative offer from Teya Ryan anyway and watched for months as all this unfolded. For her to now be hailed as a fearless truth teller is just a little hard to swallow. Compare Celeste’s fearless truth telling with Ashleigh Wilson Penfield’s, the longtime GPB producer who resigned over the Chip Rogers hiring and wrote a heartfelt but blistering letter to Teya Ryan:…

If public broadcast journalists won’t demand ethical conduct from their own organizations, how are we to trust their journalism? I’m all for fair labor in China, but this is in our own back yard. It can and should be corrected.

A journalism professor advising complacency is a little disturbing. Especially regarding scandals at his own past employer. If that’s the mindset at GPB all I can say is … SUE, KIDS, SUE!!

Someone needs to start standing up to corruption and complacency in this state and who better than the ones whose futures are being destroyed by it.

Our Attorney General refuses to even investigate cases of public corruption. Our Ethics Commission rivals GPB in its cronyism and outside influence. It's Executive Secretary was only dismissed after being fined by a judge for unethical conduct. (At our Ethics Commission!) It took belated but persistent legal action to push her oversight board to finally do what it should have done months before and dismiss her.

As for the press, the reluctance to aggressively cover one’s own media organization makes GPB’s many partnerships with most of the largest newspapers in the state very convenient. And since the WRAS takeover, GPB seems to be in a partnership with the AJC. Its reporters appear on air and are weekly panelists on Bill Nigut's shows. Rodney Ho's interview with Bill Nigut took place with a PR flack in the room and Mr. Ho admitted to holding back obvious questions that might make her uncomfortable. His own profile of Celeste Headlee included a quote by the reclusive Teya Ryan in the first interview she’d given, at least that I had seen, since the partnership announcement. He quoted her praise of this bold new venture but asked her nothing about the controversies.

To the cynic in me, it appears that a complacent press corp would rather look the other way regarding GPB out of loyalty to fellow journalists and in hopes of more air time, cross-promotions and LinkeIn endorsements. I hope I’m wrong. I’m sure there are just too many stories to cover and too little resources, but Mr. Ragusea’s advice to the students of GSU to just give up only fuels my cynicism. It also points to the very heart of what’s wrong about all this: a “done deal” that was done in secret using sleaze ball tactics but … what ‘r ya gonna do? … it’s all done now. Meanwhile, we’re the most corrupt state in the country.

How much more of this nonsense should we just “make the best of.”

The theft of WRAS is indeed a small injustice compared to Georgia’s others, but it’s representative of many of the larger ones: cronyism and corruption; income inequality; lack of transparency and ethical conduct; decreasing opportunities for young people; and the privileged and powerful never being held to account.

A thorough investigation by someone, be it lawyers or reporters, might unravel more sleaze than we already know, implicate others and ultimately spur sorely needed reforms.

Student-led WRAS, as unpolished as it often sounded, was doing everything it was supposed to do: break new artists; take listener requests; read PSAs and the station ID; and give a diverse group of students from humble backgrounds broadcasting experience at one of the leading college stations in the country. One completely student run for 43 years and beloved by its community. Then Mark Becker and Teya Ryan came along and treated those students like sh**.

It was disgusting then and it’s disgusting now.

Like the Woodruff Arts Center Board thinking nothing of treating the ASO musicians like sh** by locking them out twice in two years. Or the Board of Regents treating the people of Augusta like sh** by re-naming Augusta State after themselves for no good reason but their own sense of entitlement.

That’s what complacency has gotten us.

GSU students are not pieces of sh**. They deserve their station back.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by SobSax on 01/06/2015 at 7:24 AM

Re: “Jonathan Rapping: The defender

The fire won't stop by throwing paper at it. The way to stop a fire is to get to the heart of it. Jon Rapping is going after the hearts of America, one public defender at a time. This movement is helping change the hearts of America, which is the root cause of the problems. Thank you good sir!!!

Posted by Drew Willey on 01/06/2015 at 12:14 AM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

I don't think it's any more instructive to look at cume alone, either. There's a reason PDs look at cume, share, AQH, etc all together. Regardless, the link you've posted is just for the last six months, so I can't compare the cumes to the pre-GPB days. If you have 2013 and early 2014 data, I'd love to see it.

I'll certainly grant you that Max should have asked Celeste about the whole thing (which he probably did) and then printed her "no comment" (with which she almost certainly responded). That's pro forma, and it's what I would train my students to do. But honestly, I'm not sure how much that little dance illuminates anything, and I'm not sure if CL is a publication that feels bound to the standard procedures.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Adam Ragusea on 01/05/2015 at 11:39 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

Lynn, thanks for the information. But I didn't see the numbers you mentioned above for May 2014 and December 2014 in the document you posted. From the document it looks like the cume went up a lot from July to August. It could just be that I'm reading it wrong or that info was not part of the document.

Posted by walker11 on 01/05/2015 at 10:23 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

Adam, I am a Nielsen subscriber, so that's where I've gotten the data. Here is a link to the most recent ratings for Atlanta:….

In the past, I have alerted Rodney about how only using share as a measure of audience is inaccurate and only shows a portion of the picture. Share is essentially how the pie is divided, not how many listeners there are in that whole pie. When you look at actual audience, you see that GPB's numbers, after having been on the air for a full six months, has never met the student numbers prior to the takeover. That doesn't speak to an audience that's "clamoring" for their programming as GPB stated early on.

The truth is that for many years like many student broadcast stations, ratings weren't gathered by GSU because the administration understood the importance of it as a broadcast training ground, rather than as a money maker for the university. It wasn't until GSU was being courted by GPB that these figures were even being gathered -- you have to pay to be a Nielsen reporting station, and many non-profit and educational stations choose to put their dollars into their programming and educational training rather than proving their audience through ratings.

To your point about the article on Celeste, I will grant you that this is a profile piece, and that Celeste is not ultimately responsible for the decisions that have led to the takeover. However, she is the beneficiary of those decisions, so it would have been appropriate to at least ask her about the controversy and her opinion about it.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Lynn Harris Medcalf on 01/05/2015 at 5:49 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

Lynn, where are you getting those audience numbers? Here's where I'm getting mine, maybe you have something better:

I think it's unfair to dismiss Max's article here as a "PR puff piece." Fact is, Celeste's show is an entity unto itself with its own merits, and Max chose to look at it on its own terms, and I think that was the right call. Obviously it exists in the context of this broader controversy, which Max mentions, but I think that's about all he can do. Celeste isn't responsible for any of the events that you have a problem with. It would be like haranguing Apple's iPhone design team manager for the company's alleged labor abuses in China. Those abuses would be worth mentioning in any article about iPhones, but she/he isn't the person with whom you drill down on that particular issue, and the iPhone is still worth considering as a design object, even if you don't like how it's manufactured.

To your broader points, I'm not going to dispute them, except to say that I'm pretty passionate about radio and student media, but I also believe in keeping things in perspective.

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Adam Ragusea on 01/05/2015 at 5:07 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

Adam Ragusea, you're dead wrong about the ratings. If you're " just looking to keep the facts straight," here they are:

The student broadcast in May 2014 had a 76,300 cume. GPB currently has 54,400 cume. If that's GPB's "format more than doubled the audience in basically a blink of an eye in radio years," that's some really really funny new math you're doing. And their share at a high of .4 in November has gone down to .2 as of December's ratings. They are tanking, which is now being hastened by WABE's entry into the all news territory.

Facts are, GPB's ratings are in the toilet largely because of the PR nightmare they've brought on themselves -- their lack of transparency, lack of response to public outcry and PR puff pieces like this article further tarnishing their image, because they appear obtuse by not addressing the real issues about independent artists, student expression and broadcast diversity in the Atlanta community.

If you worked at this or any college station or were passionate about college radio in the least, you wouldn't think that in the "universe of injustices, this is a pretty minor one, at worst." It's part of a frightening pattern of silencing student voice across the country for the almighty dollar. I'm glad that my journalism instructors at the University of Georgia supported student expression and understood what working at the college radio station or college newspaper meant to students.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Lynn Harris Medcalf on 01/05/2015 at 2:28 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

I'm not gonna say you're wrong, I'm just saying you need to think about what you want to achieve now. You can continue to try to obstruct, and you may get a charge out of fighting what you feel is the good fight, but I doubt it'll get you anywhere in the end. If there was a viable legal challenge, I think it probably would have been made by now. In the universe of injustices, this is a pretty minor one, at worst. I would try to make the best of the new situation, but that's me, and I'm hardly unbiased.

1 like, 6 dislikes
Posted by Adam Ragusea on 01/05/2015 at 9:23 AM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

True cooperation starts from the beginning, not in hindsight. The deal was made toxic by the unethical lack of foresight displayed by both deal makers. Personally an LA or Irvine style agreement, where music is sandwiched with news updates and programming, sounds like an appealing thing to me. But that is not at all how this went down. We have been diverted and disrespected and the continued silence from GSU and the faculty is discouraging.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by GSU Student on 01/04/2015 at 10:41 PM

Re: “Bem Joiner: The dot connector

[This comment has been removed to comply with Creative Loafing's comment policy.]

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by Bemisaracistpig on 01/04/2015 at 3:54 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

Erg, I meant KCRW, not KPCC. Wrong LA station.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Adam Ragusea on 01/04/2015 at 1:26 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

My feelings on it are complicated, and I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty here. There are plenty of valid opinions on all sides, I'm really just looking to keep the facts straight. I doubt very much that GPB journalists are "under orders" to not report on the WRAS issue. I recall we actually did cover both the deal and the controversy in the hourly newscasts back when it all went down (I still worked there at the time). They haven't done, as far as I know, anything enterprising or investigative on the topic, but I imagine they feel like it's not really their place to aggressively cover their own organization. There are other news orgs, namely CL and AJC, that are in a position to be more objective and have done a fine job on the story. To "GSU Student," I see where you're coming from, however I do think the student programmers of WRAS could benefit significantly from ratings growth. There's gonna be a big ratings halo at 7 p.m. on weeknights coming out of ATC and into student programming. If I were you, I'd work up a really ambitious, highly-produced show for that slot -- it has the potential to become one of the most-heard college radio shows in the country, simply by virtue of position. I would look to KPCC as an example of how public radio and AAA formats can thrive together -- that is, if you want to try to make the best of the situation as it stands, which it sounds like you don't, and that's obviously your call.

2 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Adam Ragusea on 01/04/2015 at 10:09 AM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

Adam Ragusea,

As a journalism professor at Mercer University, do you approve of GPB's ethics? Has Teya Ryan acted with integrity?

As GPB's former Macon Bureau Chief and a contributor to the network, why hasn't GPB News covered the WRAS takeover? Are its reporters under orders not too?

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by SobSax on 01/04/2015 at 7:14 AM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

Ratings do nothing to help us, the students, who pay for her airtime. Ratings be damned! For it was us who funded and founded it and we will pursue legal action if necessary to get it back!

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by GSU Student on 01/03/2015 at 9:46 PM

Re: “Celeste Headlee: The radio journalist

S Stone: WRAS's audience share jumped from a .2 in the second quarter (when it was still all-student) to a .41 in the last quarter. The GPB format has more than doubled the audience in basically a blink of an eye in radio years. Are you comparing the year-end ratings to some earlier figure? Sure it's still a modest share compared to WABE's 3.3, but it generally takes audiences a long time to catch up to format changes.

4 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Adam Ragusea on 01/03/2015 at 7:38 PM

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