Monday, June 30, 2014

Album 88 supporters protest GPB's WRAS takeover

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 10:15 AM

WRAS supporters march down Courtland Street in opposition to Georgia Public Broadcastings takeover of WRAS daytime programming.
  • Max Blau
  • WRAS supporters march down Courtland Street in opposition to Georgia Public Broadcasting's takeover of WRAS daytime programming.
WRAS 88.5 FM's 43-year-old tradition of independent, student-run college radio came to an end this weekend.

On the same day that Georgia Public Broadcasting officially took over daytime programming on the 100,000-watt voice of Georgia State University, WRAS supporters gathered on GSU's campus to protest. On Sunday, about 100 protesters demonstrated in Hurt Park to oppose the GSU-GPB deal. Students waved signs that called for action ("Save WRAS" and "Defend WRAS") and criticized the state media network ("I pledge not to pledge to GPB" and "Generic Programming Bullshit").

"This is not just about students, this is about Atlanta's culture," one protester said. "What Becker has done here is completely unethical. ... that's wrong. What [GSU] needs to do is renegotiate this deal with the students' input who actually want to see culture and music in Atlanta."

Once gathered, the group marched down Courtland Street, temporarily blocking traffic, and crammed into GSU's Student*University Center, where WRAS' studios are located. Inside the building, they rallied outside the studios, banged on student lockers, and chanted messages such as "Let's tell Becker WRAS is better!" and "No deal!" (We've included a few photos from yesterday's rally after the jump.)

"This is not over," WRAS supporter Bryan Heist said. "A lot of things they did were very unethical. ... They not only kept out the voice of the students, they kept out the voice of the community. This isn't just a station for the university, it's for the community."

Protesters this morning are also expressing their outrage outside GPB's Midtown headquarters on 14th Street. Last week, GSU officials announced that they were looking into the potential purchase of an alternate transmitter. If the school is able to purchase the equipment, GPB and GSU students would each receive their own frequencies to broadcast programming.

Protesters urged GSU President Mark Becker to put student voices back on 88.5 FM. Lets tell Becker WRAS is better, they chanted throughout their demonstration.
  • Max Blau
  • Protesters urged GSU President Mark Becker to put student voices back on 88.5 FM. "Let's tell Becker WRAS is better," they chanted throughout their demonstration.

One protester yells outside the WRAS studios to express her opposition to the GPBs takeover of WRAS.
  • Max Blau
  • One protester yells outside the WRAS studios to express her opposition to GPB's takeover of WRAS.

A group of WRAS supporters marched from Hurt Park to GSUs Student*University Center, where students broadcast shows on 88.5 FM, to fight GPBs takeover of daytime programming on the station.
  • Max Blau
  • A group of WRAS supporters marched from Hurt Park to GSU's Student*University Center, where students broadcast shows on 88.5 FM, to fight GPB's takeover of daytime programming on the station.

WRAS students, alumni, and listeners demonstrated in Hurt Park on Sunday. At the same time, several groups were holding public feedings for the homeless.
  • Max Blau
  • WRAS students, alumni, and listeners demonstrated in Hurt Park on Sunday. At the same time, several groups were holding public feedings for the homeless.

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