GPB coming to Atlanta airwaves with WRAS-FM deal

In a channel-sharing agreement announced Tuesday, Georgia Public Broadcasting will expand its public radio service into the Atlanta market starting June 1 via Georgia State University’s 88.5 WRAS-FM. GPB Radio will program the station with a news format from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., providing Atlanta with its first public radio outlet to air news in midday hours. The city’s WABE, operated by Atlanta’s public school system, airs NPR’s newsmagazines but also schedules classical music from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. “We wanted to bring something that is not currently in the market,” said Bert Huffman, v.p. of development for GPB. “We recognize that people can get classical music from WABE.”

Study evaluates strength of public radio’s “halo” for sponsors

ATLANTA — The positive associations that public radio listeners have with corporate sponsors and underwriters are as strong as ever, according to a report unveiled July 11 during the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference. Results of the 2013 NPR Underwriting Research project, presented by radio analyst Paul Jacobs, showed that the so-called “halo effect” that companies gain from public media sponsorships is unchanged since 2010, the last time researchers looked into it. A 2003 NPR study first identified the power of public radio sponsorships to influence listeners’ perceptions of the quality of the companies who pay for them. “We’re seeing absolutely no decline in how your listeners feel about you,” Jacobs said. “Despite the fact we live in a time of media fragmentation, one of the constants you have is that your audience loves you.”

“You have something that money can’t buy — your listeners trust in you so much that that trust transfers to the companies that sponsor you,” Jacobs told the audience at the PMDMC Thursday.

Rochester indie-movie venue now operated by WXXI

WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., has acquired a downtown movie house, The Little Theatre, it announced Dec. 19. The art-deco theater, founded in 1929 as part of a “little theatre” movement promoting alternatives to Hollywood’s mass-audience movies, still specializes in indie and foreign films, including anime and docs. In recent decades it was expanded from one to five screens, and to 940 seats, and it became a nonprofit. “The Little,” as it’s known locally, screens more than 100 films a year and hosts several annual community film festivals.

WFCR takes new name: New England Public Radio

Western Massachusetts broadcaster WFCR-FM has adopted a new name — one that seems to speak of ongoing expansion: New England Public Radio. CEO Martin Miller announced the plans at a station event Wednesday night. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the station announced it has arranged to buy new quarters in downtown Springfield, south of its longtime home in Amherst, and has bought a new FM frequency in the Berkshire Mountains town of Adams, northwest of Amherst. The news and classical music station, licensed to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, added a second program schedule, all-news/talk, on a leased station in the 1990s and in October acquired WNNZ-AM for the schedule. By building translators in addition, one or both of its program streams now span from southern Vermont to northern Connecticut, New Hampshire to Albany, N.Y. Where it may encounter competition from another growing regional public radio franchise, Northeast Public Radio (WAMC).