Three days after Georgia Public Broadcasting took over daytime programming on Georgia State University’s WRAS-FM, Atlanta’s other public radio station, WABE, released an open letter criticizing the channel-sharing agreement.
Dr. Louis Sullivan, chair of the board of directors at Public Broadcasting Atlanta, which owns and operates WABE, called the deal between GPB and GSU “bad public policy.”
The agreement, which took effect June 29, gives GPB control over the 100,000-watt station’s programming between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The arrangement also provides GPB with a presence in on Atlanta airwaves for the first time. Previously, the news/classical format WABE was the city’s only public radio station.
In his letter, Sullivan pointed out that WRAS is now airing NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered at the same time that WABE runs those programs. WABE is already serving the Atlanta market, said Sullivan, who called on GPB and GSU to modify or terminate their agreement.
“The apparent reason [for the agreement] is that, notwithstanding its very high amount of Georgia taxpayer funding, GPB desires to cut into PBA’s Atlanta community fundraising base,” he said in his letter.
GPB executives have previously said that the station is filling a gap in the city’s public radio coverage by featuring news throughout the day while WABE airs classical music.