Friends of WREK Blog

Bad things are afoot in Atlanta. Various factions are trying to take over some or all of the programming on WREK, the Georgia Tech student station. I’ve glancingly mentioned Georgia Public Broadcasting’s attempt to air the commodity NPR programming over WREK’s signal during weekdays. The GT Athletic Association, which cares nothing about radio except for those times when they have a game to air, also wants to exert some form of greater control. I haven’t gotten wildly involved in defending WREK this time. I’ve fought lots of these fights and I’m just weary. I support them in principle and although I was not a signatory to the recent letter to the administration that’s just from my failing to respond to email. I will probably write my own letter soon.

An alumnus named John Nestor has set up a blog about the whole issue if you want to follow these events and/or help out.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

2 thoughts on “Friends of WREK Blog”

  1. Chris C. says:

    I made sure to respond to John’s call for signatories, because that’s all I’m able to do this time around. Much like you (more, I dare say) I’ve been a huge champion of WREK for many years, but at this point I’m just tired. More specifically, though, I’ve just got too much other stuff going on right now. So, godspeed, kids.

    I do think that the only way that the students will lose WREK is if they LET it happen, and so this whole episode is essentially a referendum on how actively the students are willing to defend their property. I’ve been impressed to see the strong support of WREK-as-it-now-exists by the student body, e.g. the Technique and various polls.

    For a couple months I’ve had a long rant drafted about WREK and the forces that have acted to hobble it, but since this GPB thing blew up I’ve been holding it in the tank. No matter how middling WREK might ever get, handing entire swathes of the program day over to the likes of Lois Reitzes and TOTN would be a horrible development. And don’t get me started on the HD radio stillbirth …

  2. dave says:

    CDC, without a doubt you’ve been a bigger champion and are more tired than me. I do agree with you that it’s up to the students to do the bulk of the fighting and that if they don’t, it doesn’t matter what the middle-aged alumni think.

    Scott Long in a comment on Kincaid’s blog said it all to me when they were talking about the 96 Rock format change. At this point, he said, when stations change format they are only going to lose old loyal listeners because there are no new listeners to pick up. To me, shutting down WREK’s unique programming (like, you can count on your hand the number of similar stations in the world) to replace it with pure commodity programming that you can hear up and down the country is madness.

    When I write my letter, I’ll point out that listeners have little any brand loyalty per se to the NPR affiliates that air the shows they listen to. The station is transparent, just a vector to get to the national programming in 98% of the cases. Undoubtedly they might pick up a few listeners, but they will be ones that don’t care about the station or the school and just want to get their fix of the overwhelming blandness that is contemporary NPR shows.

    You also bring up an important point. Add to all this that I find all the NPR news shows no longer listenable and I think this is that much worse a move. But, I’m far removed in space and commitment from the station anymore so the people on the ground have to fight their own fight. I’ve been willing to die on that hill before, but that was when I was a student and now it is up to today’s students.

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