Beasley media complex dedicated
by Kellen Short
The George G. Beasley Media Complex was dedicated Thursday before a crowd of dozens of supporters, administrators, faculty and family members of the Beasleys.
Appalachian State University purchased the property in 2001 and started construction at the corner of Rivers and Depot streets a decade later.
"The Beasley Media Complex ... has been a long time coming," said Michael Steinback, chairman of the ASU board of trustees. "I think that's an understatement."
Planning for the new building started about seven years ago, with construction commencing in 2011 under the direction of Vannoy Construction of Jefferson and WNH Architects of Charlotte.
The roomy three-floor, 18,000-square-foot complex holds the broadcast studios for student radio station WASU, classrooms, labs, and offices for faculty in the Department of Communications.
The university originally planned to leave the faade of the bus depot, built in 1945, in place, but regulation changes required adjustments to the plan. Instead, the university moved the stones to an alternate location for cleaning and storage before reusing them in the walls of a courtyard.
It was within those courtyard walls Thursday that Chancellor Kenneth Peacock recognized Beasley as a "giant" in broadcasting, rubbing elbows with the likes of Ted Turner, Norman Lear and Jim Lehrer.
Beasley started the Beasley Broadcast Group in 1961 when he built WPYB-AM in Benson, and the company earned a reputation for acquiring and improving underperforming radio stations.
He expanded across the Eastern United States in the following years before entering the nation's top 10 radio markets through the purchase of KRTH AM/FM in Los Angeles.
Today the Naples, Fla.-based company includes 44 stations and trades on NASDAQ under the symbol BBGI.
Beasley, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees in business education from ASU in 1958 and 1959, also serves as a member of the ASU Foundation Board of Directors and the ASU Board of Trustees. The university granted him an honorary doctorate in May.
Glenda Treadaway, dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, thanked Beasley for taking ASU's dream and making it possible. She said the building rivals the spaces available at other strong communications schools, including UNC-Chapel Hill and Elon.
Treadaway spoke of a high school student who toured the complex recently as he considered where he wanted to go to school.
"He walked out of the building, and he looks at me, and he said, 'I'll see you next fall,'" she said.
Treadaway said the new complex would usher in a new era of broadcasting education at Appalachian and make students better prepared for careers in the same field where Beasley made great strides.
"George's contributions to the field of broadcasting are vast," Treadaway said. "But his contributions to ASU, the students and the faculty are just as impressive."
Beasley, who was joined in Boone by his wife, Ann, and other family members, said he already had witnessed this summer the bright minds and strong talent being developed in the college.
He said he hoped the new complex would allow Appalachian State to evolve into "the premiere school of broadcast communications in the southeast."
"This building isn't about George Beasley and his family," Beasley said. "It's about the many hundreds of students we expect to come through this building."