Archive for the ‘Georgia Public Broadcasting’ Category

Why Chip Rogers’ new GPB job fails the cronyism test

(Left to right) State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, hosts a July 2012  press conference -- along with Sen. John Albers, Rep. Sean Jerguson, and Rep. Ed Setzler – to voice opposition to TSPLOST. Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

(Left to right) State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, hosts a July 2012 press conference — along with Sen. John Albers, Rep. Sean Jerguson, and Rep. Ed Setzler – to voice opposition to TSPLOST. Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Years ago at the state Capitol, if you truly wanted to do a friend a favor, you fired him.

Under a quirk in state law, laid-off workers received an immediate, life-time pension. Many well-connected state employees, some in their forties, waltzed into early retirement in this manner.

There are those who point to former state Senate majority leader Chip Rogers, now Georgia Public Broadcasting’s most famous employee, as yet another example of this kind of cronyism. But that is like mistaking a bream for a large-mouth bass.

Right genus — and still fishy — but wrong species.

In fact, the Rogers affair is the mirror image of the state’s old “involuntary separation” law. Instead of firing a friend, Gov. Nathan Deal has arranged employment for a …

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Your daily jolt: Paul Broun’s wife declares he’s running for U.S. Senate

Ready or not, here comes Paul Broun.

Karen Handel, the former Republican candidate for governor, was supposed to the featured attraction at a Tuesday night meeting of Georgia C.H.A.R.G.E (Citizens Helping America Restore Government Ethics).

Then an unscheduled Republican congressman from Athens arrived with his wife and a staffer in tow. Broun spoke, but stopped short of announcing a 2014 run for the U.S. Senate. We’ll let Andrew O’Shea of Viral Read take you the rest of the way:

As Congressman Broun sat down to a room full of applause followed by a short silence, Dr. Broun’s wife, Niki, stood up in front of the crowd and courageously declared that not only did her husband have her permission and support to run to be Georgia’s next junior U.S. Senator, but that he was openly announcing his candidacy, the first to formally do so in the wake of Senator Chambliss’ declaration to resign following the remainder of his current term.

This morning, we called O’Shea, a Republican …

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Your daily jolt: GPB producer resigns over hiring of Chip Rogers

News that former state Sen. Chip Rogers has been given an executive position at Georgia Public Broadcasting with a hefty starting salary of $150,000 has prompted the resignation of a longtime executive producer at the network.

Click here to read the resignation letter from Ashlie Wilson Pendley to GPB President and CEO Teya Ryan, sent to us this morning by Bryan Long of Better Georgia. Here’s the meat:

I know that you have faced a variety of challenges and difficult decisions in the last four years since you assumed leadership of GPB. I’ve witnessed four rounds of layoffs. I’ve watched the outsourcing of the sales staff, the IT helpdesk and most recently, Master Control operations. I have loyally accepted stagnant wages for the last five years, even while the cost of my benefits has increased- even in the times when furloughed- because I believed GPB was an organization that was worth the sacrifice and the hard work.

In December, it became public that GPB was hiring former …

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GPB rethinks shifting ‘Lawmakers’ to twice-a-week schedule

Days after announcing a dramatic shift in its 42-year coverage of the state Legislature, Georgia Public Broadcasting officials this morning said they’re backing away from a decision to make “Prime Time Lawmakers” a twice-a-week program.

Nancy Zintak, spokeswoman for GPB, said the change has been delayed for at least a year, to allow time to move viewers to other platforms intended to fill the void.

After a first rehearsal on Tuesday, Zintak said, executives decided that the state public affairs network was moving too quickly. “We realized that, if we do this cold, we may not get the viewership we currently have,” she said.

Last year, the program averaged an estimated viewership of 11,500 Atlanta households, or 17,500 statewide.

GPB is funded through the state budget. Zintak said there was “absolutely” no pushback from the state Capitol on the change. “Prime Time Lawmakers” is geared to coverage of the annual 40-day session of the Legislature. This year’s session begins …

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Your daily jolt: ‘The Lawmakers’ shifts to twice a week

For 41 years, every day that the Legislature has met during its annual, 40-day sessions, Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “The Lawmakers” has been there with a 30-minute, televised recap.

That’s about to change. One of Georgia’s longest-running public affairs programs will shift to a twice-a-week format for its 42nd season.

GPB executives say the decision has more to do with viewership than budget cuts. The problem is that “The Lawmakers” has aired only on days when state lawmakers meet. But the 40 days allotted to each session are spread out over four months.

“We’re trying to make it easier for the viewer to know when to expect it. If you don’t have a legislative calendar in front of you, in the past it was really hard to figure out when the show was airing,” said Robert Brienza, vice president for news and sports at GPB.

“One week it may be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the next week it may not be on at all. The third week, it may be on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” he …

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Your daily jolt: Max Cleland on putting two Vietnam vets in charge of U.S. foreign policy

Over the weekend, the liberal website Talking Points Memo caught up with former U.S. senator Max Cleland, who declared himself thrilled with prospect of two Vietnam veterans in charge of formulating and implementing American foreign policy.

Former U.S. senator Max Cleland of Georgia/AJC file

Former U.S. senator Max Cleland of Georgia/AJC file

President Barack Obama is expected to nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense today. He’s already nominated Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry as a replacement for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Said Cleland:

“Look at John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, two wounded combat veterans of the Vietnam War. They’ve got five purple hearts between them. That’s the kind of people we want withdrawing from Afghanistan and ending this insane war and occupation and focusing the country on using the American military to stay out war, but if we get in war to win war and win it quickly,” he said.

Cleland said the pair will bring harmony to the civilian and military sides of American …

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A Christmas miracle marks the end of a tumultuous era

Note to readers: This marks my last post of 2012 — I’ll be on vacation the rest of the year. My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington, dmalloy@ajc.com, has graciously agreed to take on blogging duties and keep you informed as we stray ever closer to that fiscal cliff. Best holiday wishes to all.

Much has been written about the sudden departure of Chip Rogers for a custom-made job with Georgia Public Broadcasting, four weeks after his re-election to the Legislature and three weeks after he was forced to withdraw his bid for a second term as state Senate majority leader.

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, left, cracks a smile as he talks with Sen. Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone, right, during last session’s debate on the proposed constitutional amendment on charter schools. Chance will replace Rogers as majority leader next year. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, left, cracks a smile as he talks with Sen. Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone, right, during last session’s debate on the proposed constitutional amendment on charter schools. Chance will replace Rogers as majority leader next year. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

But too heavy a focus on Rogers detracts from the larger development: The return of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle as a figure of …

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Your daily jolt: GPB’s Teya Ryan can stay ‘as long as she wants,’ says Nathan Deal

Teya Ryan can breathe a little easier this morning.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, having been forced out of his leadership position, would resign his Senate seat and take a new, full-time job with Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Rogers’ assignment, as outlined by the man who created it, is to make GPB part of the state’s economic development, job-recruitment operation. Rogers will report directly to Ryan, who is GPB’s president and executive director.

After a tree-lighting ceremony in the state Capitol on Thursday, Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) caught up with Gov. Nathan Deal, who helped engineer Rogers’ exit:

O’Hayer: Are you envisioning him to eventually run that organization?

Deal: No, the only vision we have at this point is to use what we had been trying to do for a long time, is use Georgia Public Broadcasting as an economic development tool to a greater extent than we’re currently doing. That’s the role that he’s going to be …

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Your daily jolt: White House works grassroots to dampen Democratic talk of a ‘fiscal cliff’ leap

State Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus, was one of a dozen or so African-American state lawmakers who gathered at the White House on Tuesday for a briefing on the “fiscal cliff” from President Barack Obama and senior aides.

State Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus/AJC file

State Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus/AJC file

The 90-minute meeting, including 15 minutes with Obama in the Oval Office, focused on the costs to states if Obama and Congress are unable to come to an agreement on a debt-reduction package – and a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts kick in.

From Smyre’s description, the meeting with the leadership of the National Black Caucus of State Legislatures was intended to encourage core Obama supporters to spread the word and tamp down any Democratic talk that jumping off the cliff isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

A few liberals have agreed with Newt Gingrich that the deadline is simply a mirage. Smyre is not among them. Like U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, he believes a deal is necessary before …

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Chip Rogers: ‘I’ll be reporting directly to Teya Ryan’

A state lawmaker needs a quick exit from the Legislature, and a position at Georgia Public Broadcasting appears. Life can be magical that way.

We have excerpts from an interview with Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers below, but here’s the official press release from GPB:

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Media) announced today that it is creating a new programming initiative designed to facilitate coverage of economic development and jobs in Georgia. GPB will use its statewide reach and multiple platforms to create programming that will aggregate job opportunities, job growth areas and career counseling.

State Sen. Chip Rogers of Woodstock has announced that he is resigning his Senate seat to accept a position at GPB spearheading this initiative beginning with a statewide weekly radio program examining current economic development trends and highlighting companies that are growing and creating jobs.

“GPB has a long history of serving Georgians with programming that is …

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