Friday, February 16, 2007

News Coverage of the RCB/GPB Meeting

This week's Technique and Creative Loafing both ran stories about the Feb. 7 RCB/GPB meeting:

Monday, February 12, 2007

More about the RCB / GPB Meeting

I have received a few more details about the RCB /GPB meeting last week with Georgia Public Broadcasting, including a list of attendees. GPB was represented by the following people:
  1. Ms. Nancy Hall, Interim Executive Director
  2. Ms. Bonnie Bean, Chief Financial Officer
  3. Mr. Mark Fehlig, Director of Technical & Engineering Services
  4. Mr. Jim Wesley (title unknown)
While Ms. Hall, Ms. Bean, and Mr. Fehlig are all listed on the GPB website, Mr. Wesley is nowhere to be found.

However, some Google searching reveals that he is James W. Wesley, Jr., a retired broadcasting executive who was most recently Chairman and CEO of Summit Communications Group, Inc., which at the time owned several commercial radio stations and cable systems. Mr. Wesley is a Georgia Tech alum (IM '55) who got his start in broadcasting as an announcer at WSB in 1955 while still a Tech student.

What is even more interesting is that Mr. Wesley is a generous donor to Georgia Tech. Most notably, in 1998 Mr. Wesley and his wife endowed the James and Mary Wesley Chair in the School of Literature, Communications and Culture ("LCC") with a gift of $2.5 Million. More recently, he was listed in the highest category of donor ($500,000-$1,000,000) in the Georgia Tech Alumni Association's "Founders Council Newsletter" in Fall 2003, Spring 2005, and Spring 2006.

It is interesting to see someone of Mr. Wesley's stature and background advocating a "partnership" between GPB and WREK. As a major donor, I expect that any proposals that Mr. Wesley might bring to the Tech administration will receive careful consideration. However, while GPB expressed a strong interest in "leasing" a portion of WREK's signal at last week's meeting, they offered no concrete proposal.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The RCB / GPB Meeting

The RCB meeting with the GPB was held today as scheduled. Commenter "WREKker" at Rodney Ho's RadioTalk blog describes the scene (emphasis mine):
The meeting was unusual in a lot of ways. GPB’s representatives purported to only be interested in a “partnership” with WREK. They would give WREK staffers opportunities like internships in exchange for airing their programming. Whether WREK staff are interested in internships, I cannot say. But I doubt it. As for their programming, they are primarily interested in “drive time”, when they are airing NPR staples like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Marketplace. They repeatedly stated that they were looking for a way to get a signal into Atlanta, and that they had no specific proposal. It was “whatever WREK wants.” It is uncertain whether you can take this at face value, however.
Update (2/8 10AM): Rodney has now posted his own report on the meeting.

WREK Discussion in AJC RadioTalk Blog

Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Rodney Ho has posted an article about WREK and the RCB/GPB meeting in his RadioTalk blog on Access Atlanta. There is a lively discussion going on in the comments section that is definitely worth a look.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

WREK Review Process Underway

Apparently the review process proposed by the Tech administration is already well underway. The Radio Communications Board (RCB) met in December to set up ground rules for the review process. While the information that I have is sketchy, apparently the RCB plans to meet with each the parties proposing to take over airtime from WREK. They will transmit an evaluation of the proposals to President Clough, who will make the final decision on whether to accept one of the proposals or else leave WREK in its present form.

One of these meetings will occur tommorow, February 7. At this meeting representatives of Georgia Public Broadcasting will present their proposal to the RCB. According to prior news reports, their preliminary proposal was to lease WREK airtime during the morning (6-9AM) and evening (3-6PM) "drive time" to broadcast National Public Radio new programming.

I will post more details as I receive them.