WGST Radio Photographs (VAM330)
Permanent URI for this collection
The photographs document the radio station primarily in the 1950s. The collection includes images of individuals, the studios and buildings, and radio equipment as well as photographs of some of the station's special events.
Administrative History of WGST Radio
In 1922 the Atlanta Constitution founded a radio station in response to its rival newspaper's station, WSB, which was owned by the Atlanta Journal. Clark Howell, newspaper editor and owner of the Constitution, offered the station to Georgia Tech in 1923 as a gift, which President Marion L. Brittain accepted on behalf of the state. The license was allowed to expire in 1924, but in the following year, a new license was granted with the call letters WGST, standing for the Georgia School of Technology. After several legal battles, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia took over operations from 1946 to 1973, when the station was bought by the Meredith Corporation.
For the first five years of its operation, the WGST studio was located on the third floor of the Electrical Engineering Building. The Southern Broadcasting Company (SBC) signed a 20-year lease to take control of the operations in 1930 and moved the radio station studio to the Ansley Hotel, but in 1941, the Board of Regents sought to void the contract. They accused SBC of unethical financial transactions. Governor Eugene Talmadge tapped theater owners Arthur Lucas and William K. Jenkins to take over operations of WGST. SBC contested this turn of events to the Federal Communications Commission. Consequently, the State Attorney General became involved in the legal battle over the control of operations of the state-owned radio station. The Board of Regents proposed that Georgia Tech would take over operations of the radio station, but they were contractually obligated to SBC until 1950. The FCC refused to renew the license unless the Board of Regents broke the SBC contract.
As a result, the Board of Regents assumed control of operations in 1946. In 1950, WGST became an American Broadcasting Company (ABC) affiliate. By 1973 the Board of Regents declared WGST surplus property and offered it up for sale. It had always been a commercial station with no student input or support, but it could not continue to compete with the other Atlanta radio stations. (Georgia Tech had its own student station, WREK.) At five million dollars, the highest bidder was the Meredith Corporation of Des Moines, Iowa. Much opposition to the sale of the radio station came from the governor, legislators, and alumni, but the Board of Regents approved the sale and in the following year, operations were turned over to the Meredith Corporation.
The photographs in this collection include a variety of images documenting WGST radio station. The majority of the photographs are undated. All photographs are gelatin silver prints, with several negatives. Little deterioration has occurred in this collection.
Series 1 contains photographs of individuals and groups, mostly unidentified students. Series 2 includes photographs of building interiors and exteriors relating to WGST. Series 3 documents events associated with WGST, and Series 4 contains miscellaneous photographs.
Accession #1985.0806 (old number: 85-08-06) for materials originally processed as VAM008; accession #1999.0501 for materials added to original collection in October 2007.
Jody Lloyd processed these photographs in 2000. Updates and corrections to the finding aid made by Jody Lloyd Thompson and Christine de Catanzaro in October 2007.
February 2006: Finding aid converted from Encoded Archival Description Version 1.0 to Version 2002.
October 2007: Six photographs from accession #1995.0501 added to the collection. Finding aid updated and original manuscript number changed from VAM008 to VAM330.