A channel-sharing agreement between Georgia Public Broadcasting and Georgia State University’s student-run radio station WRAS-FM that had been set to start last week has been postponed to June 29.
The station, also known as Album 88, has been entirely student-run for over 40 years. But in May, the university and GPB announced a partnership that would give GPB the station from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. The partnership, which originally had been scheduled to take effect June 1, was arranged without student input and met with opposition from Album 88 DJs, alumni and fans. The delay in implementing the partnership was announced after a May 30 meeting among members of the station’s student staff and GSU president Mark Becker. In a statement on the WRAS Facebook page, Georgia State said it decided to delay the transition to address issues brought up by students.
In an exchange with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, public television’s top lobbyist sought to dial back expectations for channel-sharing pilot tests involving KLCS-TV in Los Angeles. Patrick Butler, president of the Association of Public Television Stations, responded to a blog post in which Wheeler enthusiastically described the experiment as mapping a “future” of broadcasting in which TV stations use “50 percent less bandwidth to produce a picture with increased quality of up to 300 percent.” “We appreciate Chairman Wheeler’s enthusiasm about the channel-sharing pilot in Los Angeles, and we were honored to have him visit public television station KLCS, where the pilot is being conducted,” Butler wrote in a Feb. 12 statement issued by APTS. “But we should be clear that this pilot is not intended to prove that all broadcasters can get by with half the spectrum they’re currently using.
Two Los Angeles television stations, one commercial and the other public, will pilot the first television channel-sharing project in the country, CTIA — The Wireless Association announced today. The noncom KLCS, licensed to the L.A. Unified School District, and bilingual KJLA are voluntarily participating in the experiment. CTIA, an international organization representing the wireless communications industry, is supervising the initiative in conjunction with the Association of Public Television Stations. “APTS has been involved in the development of this pilot in support of our member station KLCS,” Lonna Thompson, APTS c.o.o., told Current. “We support this pilot project because we think it will provide valuable information to our member stations considering whether to engage in their own channel-sharing effort.”
The FCC is offering a channel-sharing option to stations as part of the upcoming voluntary spectrum auctions, which will free bandwidth for use by the growing number of mobile devices.