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GPB: Chip Rogers did not violate employment policies by owning radio station

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

A statement provided to CBS Atlanta News by Georgia Public Broadcasting indicated host Chip Rogers won't be reprimanded for owning a competing radio station while working for GPB.

"Rogers has not violated any employment policies, and has not violated any FCC regulations as they pertain to GPB," reads an unsigned statement sent to CBS Atlanta investigative reporter Jeff Chirico on Tuesday. 

The attorney for the current owner of WYXC -AM1270 told Chirico last week that the former senator sold the commercial radio station to Greg Detscher in August. 

The news and talk station is located on Highway 411 in Cartersville.

"[Detscher] bought it from Clarion Communications, Inc.  My understanding is one of the officers is Chip Rogers," said attorney Douglas Davis who represents Detscher.  

AtlantaUnfiltered.com editor Jim Walls reported that the former senator turned radio host didn't disclose that he owned a radio station to his employer, Georgia Public Broadcasting

According to the report, Rogers took ownership of WYXC in 2012 but didn't report it to GPB which has a policy that prohibits employees from working for other media outlets unless they have written permission. Walls also reported that Rogers didn't notify the ownership change to the Federal Communications Commission as is required by law. 

GPB's statement also addressed that possible FCC violation. "We are aware that allegations have been made about violations pertaining to a non-GPB station, but it is up to the FCC to determine if regulations have been broken as alleged," read the statement.

"I'd like to say I'm surprised but I'm not," said Bryan Long of progressive advocacy group, Better Georgia. Long, who called Roger's job a "golden parachute" and "waste of tax dollars," launched the website www.firechiprogers.com to gather support for removing Rogers from the state payroll.

"Gov. Deal made a statement that these are tax dollars that are paying Chip's salary. He owes us some explanation as to why he owns a competing radio station," said Long.

As CBS Atlanta News reported in December, Deal created the taxpayer-funded position for Rogers after fellow Republicans voted the former senator out of his leadership post in November.

Rogers launched and began hosting Georgia Works, a radio show about jobs in the state, on GPB in July.

Since July 2, CBS Atlanta News has asked for an interview with Rogers six times.

In response to our requests for interviews, GPB representative Mandy Wilson, responded with what appeared to be a standard form letter that did not address CBS Atlanta's request. 

The email read, "Thank you for your interest in Georgia Works. The show airs Saturdays at 2 p.m. across our 17 station statewide radio network and is streamed online at www.gpb.org.  You can also read the Georgia Works blog at www.gpb.org."

A representative from Governor Deal's office did not return CBS Atlanta's request for comment.

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