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Senator Cecil Staton donates WRWR to Mercer | News

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Senator Cecil Staton donates WRWR to Mercer

For the past two years Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism has trained up and coming reporters and writers in partnership with The Telegraph.

Now, the school is getting into the TV business. State Sen. Cecil Staton owns WRWR, which broadcasts from Warner Robins.

But he's donating it to the University, which hopes to eventually see that live sign light up over its studio while producing a student newscast.

WRWR's General Manager, David Cranshaw, describes feeling excited when the small station had its first show nearly four years ago.

"We were bringing to Warner Robins strictly local news product that covered Warner Robins and Houston County," Cranshaw said.

Wednesday he says the staff was told Mercer University would be taking over the operation.

Since 2010, WRWR "The Patriot" sat on Radio Loop.

That's just off Watson Boulevard in Warner Robins but it's new home at Mercer University where the school hopes this lays the groundwork for it's broadcast students to have a live newscast.

But that means 5 of the station's six employees won't be working at Mercer. Cranshaw says he's working to find them similar jobs in media.

"We are retaining one staff member from WRWR who will be doing staff operations and programming, and we'll be moving the stations master control and operations to campus sometime this summer," Brumley said.

It's a move the Center for Collaborative Journalism hopes will bring more students to Mercer.

"A big part of the value is what it will do for the program," Tim Regan-Porter, the center's director said. "And we haven't put numbers to it, but our revenue as a program is driven almost completely by student enrollment, particularly after the Knight grant runs out, so if it can attract even a small number of additional students it will be worth it for us."

But why and why now? Senator Staton, who served the university as an associate professor and associate provost, says the timing was just right for a donation that's long been in the works.

"So, it was really out of that, those conversations over a number of months and the vision of President Underwood that the vision of Josh Robinson and I decided that we would step at this particular time which is a good time for us and make this particular gift to Mercer," Staton said.

He says he still hasn't put a dollar amount on the donation. It's a gift Mercer's just happy to have.

Approximately 150 students take classes at Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism.

Of those, 50 are journalism majors.


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