The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on October 7, 1982 · 53
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · 53

Atlanta, Georgia
Issue Date:
Thursday, October 7, 1982
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School board backs down on stations offer By JANE HANSEN ' Rtporltr, Mown EXTRA j The Atlanta Board of Education is having second , thoughts about giving its television and radio stations to the Georgia Telecommunications Commission, and race is at the heart of the matter, board members and station officials say. . ' Last November, School Superintendent Alonzo Crim asked the commission to consider taking over both star' tions' licenses. The issue was, and still is, money. In a' time of scarce resources and closing schools, some board members feel they cannot justify spending taxpayers' money to support the stations, located at. 740 Bismark Road N.E. just off Piedmont Road. - Together the television station, WETV-Channel 30, and the radio station, WABE-FM 90, operate at a budget of $2,428 million. The Atlanta Public School system contributes about $1 million annually from its general fund, mostly to Channel 30. Private donations , and state and federal grants provide most of the remaining revenue. But members of the present board, most of whom took office last January, are now reconsidering last year's overture to the commission. "We are a minority school system ," board member D.F. Glover said recently. "We don't want to turn it (the , television station) over to a predominantly white group.'' - Dr. Richard Ottinger, director of the telecommuni-.' cations commission,: said he understood the board's sentiments. "I think it's legitimate," he said. "It's one of . the few minority-controlled stations in the country." ' , The stations do have a certain amount of historical . significance. According to school historian Walter Bell, Atlanta's school system was the first in .the nation to Siroduce a cltywide educational radio program and the irst to own and operate a television station. WABE radio started In 1948, though the school system was producing programs for other stations as early as the 1920s. The television station has been operating since 1958. Of 10 public licenses in Georgia, it is the oldest Continned On Page 4 i,V ' Z , til J . -u ' , 'rV ' i " ' ' ' - - f ; ? y - : V ; i- s 'I MM! k ""Ml I -y 'si' 1 ' t i Barry Lawrence operates a tstavision camera at WETV-Channel 39. But he, like other employees at the station and Its radio counter-part, Is not sure about the future of the station. The school board, pressed by dwindling financial resources, offered the stations to the ' Georgia Telecommunications Commission last year, but has now changed its mind because, as one board member said 'We are a minority school system. We don't want to turn i it (the television station) over to a predomi-' nantly white group.' (Photo - Steve Deal) 198 3 brings 3 more rosoons to visit Atlanta zoo By BEVERLY BAKKLS Rtporttr, kitown EXTRA If all goes according to plan, next summer visitors to Atlanta's Grant Park Zoo will have at least three more reasons to make a whole day of it. The old menagerie carousel should be operating again, the zoo train should have been completely overhauled and upgraded, and the present Visitors' Cen-iv ter should be well on its way to becom-' ing the future Grant Park eatery. All this, however, is contingent on1-review and approval by the newly established Economic Development Task , Force for Grant Park, said Kurt Fan-f still, management services officer for, the city . Department of Parks . and Recreation. ! , The task force, which will meet for the first time Friday, Oct. 8, was created by Parks and Recreation Department Commissioner Gerri Elder to plan and oversee the development of a major tourist center that would include Grant Park, the zoo, the Cyclorama and other attractions in that general vicinity. ; Although the task force and ultimately City Council must give the official O.K. on the project, Fanstiil said he expects the decision to be a favorable one,; r-- v - ' , "We anticipate that the committee Will come to the same conclusion as the department," he said. "That is, that each of these projects would be of great bene fit to the zoo and the park." While the committee considers the project, members of the group planning the train and carousel renovations are moving ahead with their effort. ' 1 The miniature railroad, which runs eround the children's zoo, is already being renovated. Members of the AUenta Zoo Train (concessioneers for the train) are working oil the train a little at a time, in the evenings, so it can remain in use during the day. "Presently, we're doing the signal., crossing," Zoo Train member Jim Jack- son said, "We also plan to rehabilitate the tunnel and station, and mechanically overhaul the whole train. Eventually it's going to be painted in the colors of one of the railroads that run through Georgia." Jackson said the cost of the renovations is being covered by Atlanta Zoo Train, which hopes to recoup the money once the train is operating at full capacity again. . In the case of the carousel, a nonprofit corporation has been set up to solicit funds for the restoration from private enterprise. : , : "We felt that because cf the cost involved, the best way to achieve restoring the carousel and saving it for the city and for generations to come would be to use private monies and then make a gift of it to the city," Jackson said.

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