Decatur teen debuts song on radio, meets idol

ATLANTA -- It's time. After weeks of debate, WRAS, Georgia State University's student-run radio station for more than 40 years, will lose about half of its airtime and part of its student control on Sunday. That's when a deal with Georgia Public Broadcasting goes in to effect.

We've heard from the student DJs and the university deal-makers. We haven't heard from the musicians whose music plays on Album 88.

One just made his radio debut at age 14. The other is a nationally known recording artist in the band Deerhunter.

We introduced them to each other to talk indie rock, Atlanta and radio.

Thomas Sinclair is the sole member of the band Hollywood Video. He's also 14 years old and in rotation on WRAS. He describes his sound as "kind of post punky, more electronic."

The Decatur High School freshman is still beaming after debuting his song "Lux" on Album 88 about six weeks ago.

"Usually you think of being on the radio, it's people that have already made it. So it was really shocking," Sinclair said.

WRAS is known for finding local musicians early.

"I owe a lot of people hearing us for the first time to college radio," explained Deerhunter lead singer Bradford Cox.

Cox is a Georgia native who recorded six studio albums, tours the world and got his start right here in Atlanta as a teenager, also on the Album 88 airwaves.

FULL INTERVIEW | Cox talks local music, 'dying' college radio

Sinclair just might follow in Cox's footsteps, which is why we wanted the pair to meet.

Of course, they talked music at hello.

After learning Sinclair has no record label, no distributor and is only 14 and on the radio, Cox made a declaration: "That's why we need college radio."

RELATED | WRAS staff members meet with GSU president

The need for college radio is at the heart of the "Save WRAS" movement.

On Sunday, GSU's all student-run radio station turns over airtime and some control to Georgia Public Broadcasting. That's concerning to Atlanta musicians.

"As a direct plea to those people, I wish they would understand the potential damage they could be causing," Cox said.

Cox credits his early influences to the unpredictable airwaves of college DJs.

"It's a part of an entire generation's education, a trusted guide, and that's what college radio has always been," he said.

It guided these musicians, two generations who share the airwaves, but what will guide future musicians with Album 88 downsized? That is for the next generation to decide.

On Wednesday, Album 88 Alumni sent a proposal to GSU president Mark Becker. It outlines a plan to keep WRAS completely student-controlled and still allows GPB to broadcast to the Atlanta metro area.

There is no word on the school's response.


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