Pheeeww weeeee! Of all the smelly players in the theft of WRAS by GPB deal, Georgia State University’s VP of Student Affairs, Douglass Covey, could be the stinkiest. And it’s a tough tough competition.
Seems Covey made sure GSU student fees were used to pay for a brand new WRAS transmitter in April of 2013. And then tossed that brand new student-paid-for (unknowingly and undisclosed to them, of course) transmitter into the sweet GPB deal for use when GPB took over WRAS.
Which, according to rules and guidelines of Georgia’s state universities’ behaviors, may not have been a sanctioned/legal use of university student fees. The sweet deal itself also not known to the public or students of GSU/WRAS at the time, of course. Come to think about it, the deal was known mostly to just Douglass Covey, his inner circle of intimate cronies, and key committee folk only. (Remember kids, these are all state organizations we’re talking about here. Thus all beholden to Georgia’s Open Records laws.)
From Jennifer Waits in a Radio Survivor blog post:
Although it hasn’t been mentioned much in reporting about the situation at WRAS, in April 2013 the Georgia State University Student Activity Fee Committee approved a proposal to replace the WRAS transmitter. Estimated costs at the time were between $676,000 and $750,000. Meeting minutes also reference a construction permit to “install its main antenna on a downtown tower, allowing for a much improved signal in North Georgia, especially on campus, and in the Georgia Dome.” A few months earlier, discussions were well underway between GPB and GSU. An early draft agreement from January 2013 even proposes that GPB would help pay for the cost of a transmitter. The old proposal suggests that GSU and GPB would partner “to acquire bond dollars to cover all one-time costs of transitioning WRAS to digital broadcast…” Throughout the conversations between GSU and GPB, GPB was kept up to date about the timeline for WRAS’ new transmitter.
According to Georgia State email correspondence, the new transmitter was delivered in late April 2014. Interestingly, around this time (late April), Georgia State’s Vice President for Student Affairs Douglass Covey resigned from the board of Public Broadcasting Atlanta (which runs competing public radio station WABE). The GSU/GPB agreement was announced publicly in May 2014. Although the new transmitter has yet to be installed, it’s been pointed out that since student fees were used to pay for something that will be largely used by GPB, it could be construed as a misuse of student funds or even fraud.
Talk about a low life maneuver! And that’s not even counting Covey’s utter duplicitous skunkiness of sitting on the other public media folks’ (PBA/WABE) board throughout the icky and secretive maneuvering between GPB and GSU for expanding GPB’s public airwaves reach beyond the 24/7 grasp of the kids of GSU.
Man, what a skunk. I wouldn’t trust Douglass Covey to walk my dog to the curb.