LISTEN: On the Friday, April 19 edition of Georgia Today: How the federal legislation on TikTok could affect Georgia content creators; a look at how organizers of Tybee Island's Orange Crush festival could be on the hook for costs to taxpayers; and we remember Atlanta rap pioneer Rico Wade.

New Georgia Today Podcast Logo

Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Friday, April 19. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode, how the federal legislation on TikTok could affect Georgia content creators. We'll take a look at how organizers of Orange Crush in Tybee Island could be on the hook for costs to taxpayers. And we'll remember Atlanta rap pioneer Rico Wade. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.


Story 1:

Peter Biello: Despite concerns expressed by some on Tybee Island, one state lawmaker is cautiously optimistic ahead of this weekend's Orange Crush gathering. This comes after last year's spring break festival, which saw roughly 100,000 attendees overwhelm local infrastructure in the beachside community. As GPB's Benjamin Payne reports, Savannah state Sen. Derek Mallow is praising a new bill signed into law this month by Governor Brian Kemp.

Benjamin Payne: SB 443 allows local governments, such as Tybee Island, to seek financial damages from organizers of unpermitted events — damages, like the cost of public safety that permitted events help pay for. Democratic state Sen. Derek Mallow was a key sponsor of the bill. He says some of his fellow lawmakers were skeptical of it at first, considering that Orange Crush is a cultural tradition among many HBCU students, especially Savannah State University, of which Mallow himself is an alum. But he was able to convince many of his colleagues in the legislature to sign on. Here's what he told them.

Derek Mallow: I said, "Listen, this bill is not designed to stop Orange Crush." I said, "This bill is designed to stop the people who charged people ticket price to come to a public beach. If you're going to take folks money in the city and taxpayers of type, you're going to have to be on the line for your event, and you're going to make all the money and not have to pay for the public safety of some of the other things that any good promoter would have to do in any other city. Then the city should be able to go back and recoup some of those damages from you."

Benjamin Payne: Mallow plans on attending Orange Crush himself to see how the small seaside city of some 3,000 residents handles the expected surge of 100,000 beachgoers. For GPB News, I'm Benjamin Payne.


The TikTok logo is seen on a cellphone on Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. The popular Chinese-made social media app is under scrutiny as a potential security problem, leading to its banning at certain government agencies, including Georgia state agencies.

Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Story 2:

Peter Biello: The U.S. House this weekend is expected to consider a bipartisan bill that would require TikTok parent company ByteDance to sell the app. GPB's Amanda Andrews explains how that might impact Georgia content creators.

Amanda Andrews: The ban comes after national security concerns from the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the relationship between ByteDance and the Chinese government. However, TikTok has become a major source of income for influencers and small businesses across Georgia. Paul Tran, co-owner of Love and Pebble Skincare, says the app has completely changed the way he reaches customers.

Paul Tran: And then in 2023, we started a TikTok shop and it literally obliterated our sales, so we just sold so much in 2023. And to this day, it's like 90% of our sales are on TikTok shop.

Amanda Andrews: Data from TikTok shows over 300,000 businesses, and 5.4 million people in Georgia actively use the app. For GPB News, I'm Amanda Andrews.


Story 3:

Peter Biello: Workers supporting people with disabilities will get a salary boost later this year. Georgia's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is moving forward with recommendations from a long awaited statewide rate study it completed last year. GPB's Sofi Gratas has more on the changes.

Sofi Gratas: The salary adjustments will affect those who provide services under George's new Options and Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program, which helps families pay for care through Medicaid. Some providers, like nurses, will get triple the amount they make now. This comes after years of staffing shortages and calls for better pay. At a recent agency meeting, Donna Roberts said her son Sean has waited 10 years for a waiver.

Donna Roberts: He needs oral therapy or speech therapy. He needs a lot of the developmental stuff that he's not getting, and mainly because we don't know where to get it. We don't know how to get it. We don't have the money to get it.

Sofi Gratas: Roberts is one of thousands on the waitlist for services in Georgia. In addition to the wage adjustments, the upcoming state budget adds money for 600 new spots in the program. For GPB News, I'm Sofi Gratas.


Story 4:

Peter Biello: A few Georgia incumbents in the U.S. House are dominating the race for campaign dollars as this year's election cycle heats up. Marietta Democrat Lucy McBath and Suwannee Republican Rich McCormick both raised about $1.5 million in the first three months of the year. That's according to the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Both are facing the challenge of seeking votes from lots of new potential constituents after the Republican-controlled General Assembly essentially swapped the districts they chose to run in this year. Overall, Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene led Georgia House members in fundraising at nearly $5 million in the first quarter.


Story 5:

Peter Biello: 30 people have been charged in a gang and drug trafficking operation based in Augusta-Richmond County. State and local officials yesterday announced the indictments after an investigation that began two years ago. The massive multi-agency case includes more than 300 charges for alleged crimes across eight different counties. The defendants are all accused of being part of criminal conspiracy: the violent Trap Money gang that started in 2020.

Todd Chrisley, left, and his wife, Julie Chrisley, pose for photos at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. The couple, stars of the reality television show “Chrisley Knows Best,” have been found guilty in Atlanta on federal charges including bank fraud and tax evasion Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

Todd Chrisley, left, and his wife, Julie Chrisley, pose for photos at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. The couple, stars of the reality television show “Chrisley Knows Best,” have been found guilty in Atlanta on federal charges including bank fraud and tax evasion Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

Credit: via Todd Chrisley on Facebook

Story 6:

Peter Biello: Reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley have appealed parts of their convictions. Both are in prison after being convicted on bank fraud and tax evasion charges. Chris Lee's lawyers say prosecutors failed to provide enough evidence to convict, adding that there were other problems with the trial. Prosecutors say there was sufficient evidence.


Story 7:

Peter Biello: A Southwest Georgia district attorney is seeking to block a bond transaction for a proposed monkey breeding facility. Bainbridge DA Joe Mulholland is appealing a lower court's decision to approve the transaction, saying it was illegal. It's the latest move against the planned facility by Safer Human Medicine. The company wants to build a nearly $400 million complex in Bainbridge to hold up to 30,000 monkeys to be sold for medical research. Opponents have health and environmental concerns, while supporters tout its promised jobs.


Story 8:

Peter Biello: Georgia's unemployment rate stayed at 3.1% last month. That's according to the Georgia Department of Labor. The state added more than 16,000 jobs to reach a record high of nearly 5 million. Many of the jobs were in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and construction. Sectors where jobs were down include the film industry and transportation and warehousing.


Story 9:

Peter Biello: One of the nation's largest chicken processors is suing the Northeast Georgia city of Dawsonville over more than $1 million in wastewater-related fines and surcharges. Gold Creek Foods says the city's assessments are illegal and threaten to close one of its plants, employing about 400 people. The company is seeking to block the fines and keep the city from shutting off its water. A statement from the city expresses disappointment in the lawsuit, saying its wastewater enforcement is for the public and environmental good.

Story 10:

Peter Biello: The Georgia Ports Authority says March was the busiest month ever for the Port of Brunswick. The Colonel's Island terminal at Brunswick handled more than 77,000 units of roll on/roll off cargo, including cars and heavy machinery last month, a 21% increase over March of last year. A Georgia port spokesperson told GPB the increase did not reflect any diverted Baltimore cargo after a late March bridge collapse at the Port of Baltimore, the nation's leading port for importing cars.


Story 11:

Peter Biello: He was the sound behind some of the biggest artists to come out of Atlanta: TLC, Goodie Mob, Outkast. And it all started in his mother's basement in Southwest Atlanta, which came to be known as the infamous Dungeon. Rico Wade died last weekend at the age of 52. The news left the music community stunned. GPB s Pamela Kirkland talked with GPB digital content manager Sonia Murray about his passing.

Pamela Kirkland: Thanks for being here.

Sonia Murray: Thank you for letting me talk about Rico.

Pamela Kirkland: For our listeners who might not know, tell us, who was Rico Wade?

Sonia Murray: That's so hard to summarize. I see a lot of the stories since his passing over the weekend just kind of qualify him as "hip hop pioneer" or "hip hop architect." And one of the reasons that I wanted to make sure just in our headline on, on the story on the side is to say, you know, charismatic because he was that, you know, architect of the Atlanta music scene, not even just hip hop. But producers can can take on different, I guess, responsibilities, like be people who simply come in and, you know, might have a good record, might write the record, might, you know, have a good track or whatever it may be. He was a producer in the sense — and this is these are things that I'm still learning as people tell the story now — in the sense that he put the record together. He was a person that people would call on to say, "hey, deliver this product." And that would mean choosing the right person, choosing the right track, you know, choosing the right writer. But I thought about a story as, just as I was reporting over the weekend: Ian Burke — who is one of the people I talked to, another really well-known behind-the-scenes person here in Atlanta — was telling me that, he remembers getting in the car with Rico one day, and he started playing what to him sounded like whale sounds. And, you know, everybody trusts Rico and knows that he is a great producer. But he said, "I was like, 'I don't know what this is. But it's, it's whale sounds to me,' and Rico says it's going to be a hit. And it turned out to be "Blackberry Molasses"— 

Pamela Kirkland: Oh wow!

Sonia Murray: — which was the first song for Mista. And now I hear that song totally different — I mean, Ian just told me the story the over the weekend, and now I hear that song totally different. I talked to Bobby Valentino, Bobby Vee, as he goes by now who was in Mista. At the time and he said the same thing. It's like 'I don't know what that was, but it turned into an incredible debut for Mista.' You know, for this group.

MUSIC: Mista - "Blackberry Molasses"

Pamela Kirkland: To your point. I mean, looking across social media this weekend, there were so many people from so many different places that were posting these tributes to Rico Wade, from rappers to producers, artists. Can you talk about some of the people that his music impacted and that legacy that's going to be left behind?

Sonia Murray: It's so many. And because Rico wasn't just hip hop. And to be the person that was involved in OutKast debut is enough is already a gigantic legacy. I mean, they have the biggest-selling — they are the biggest-selling rap group of all time, the biggest-selling rap album, period, right now. I mean, it's gotten to that point. So to have an affiliation with them — and not just an affiliation; those are his brothers. That was his group. So when you think about how OutKast continues to impact people, then you have to say, well, who does OutKast look to and pay pay homage to, in a sense, and it's Rico. Not, I mean, in terms of just putting them together, trusting them. I mean, you have to — you can kind of give it to Rico's mother in a sense, because she let all of these kids come in her house, in her basement, and do what young boys do in a basement, left to their own devices.

Pamela Kirkland: Yup.

Sonia Murray: And they became, you know, the Dungeon. They became these amazing artists. One of my favorite Rico Wade productions and Organized Noize productions was En Vogue's "Don't Let Go (Love)."

MUSIC: En Vogue - "Don't Let Go (Love)"

Sonia Murray: I don't think people immediately know that was an Organized Noize production, but it — but I mean, it's one of the best En Vogue songs. It's one of the best songs on the Set It Off soundtrack, and it speaks to just their range and their abilities as a as a group, as a production team. And Rico.

Pamela Kirkland: You know, you talked about the Dungeon Family. I saw Killer Mike posted. He thanked him for his mentorship, his friendship, his brotherhood, but also just speaking to who he was and how he was larger than life. Organized Noize and his debut with OutKast came at a time when everyone was talking about East Coast rap and West Coast rap. There was no Southern hip hop. He not only launched Atlanta and the South on to the scene, he then gained the respect of all of these people who had been in the game for such a long time, and are now paying these tributes to him and thanking him for what he's done and the ways that he's changed music.

Sonia Murray: You know, is it. I'm glad you raised Killer Mike, because if people might remember him getting arrested at the Grammys this year, but he also swept all the categories and he had all the rap categories, and Rico narrated that album. So Rico isn't someone who's just of the past. He is of the very current, very present, you know, awarded this year, this past year. But what — what was special that I continue to hear from people about Rico is that he gave people the — he made people feel like: show them their gift, show them how to use it, and then feel confident in showing that to other people. That kind of confidence that he gave to his brothers, gave to, you know, all of those people in Dungeon Family, all the people that he worked with and then people who didn't really even get to work with him. But just to say, be proud of Atlanta and be proud of the music that they had, that, that — that continues. I mean, people look to him, be it, you know, T.I, whomever it may be, and look to him and say, he made me feel proud to be here and that I can do whatever I want, even being from here.

Pamela Kirkland: Sonia, your piece was phenomenal.

Sonia Murray: Thank you.

Pamela Kirkland: Thank you so much for walking us through and spending some time with me.

Sonia Murray: Thank you so much.

Pamela Kirkland: And you can find Sonia's full article on Rico Wade and his legacy on our website,

MUSIC: TLC - "Waterfalls"

Peter Biello: That was GPB Morning Edition host Pamela Kirkland speaking with GPB digital content manager Sonia Murray about Rico Wade. The Atlanta hip hop pioneer died last weekend at the age of 52.


Story 11:

Peter Biello: A state judge in Augusta-Richmond County has ruled in the county's favor in a lawsuit over the failed redevelopment of an abandoned baseball stadium. The ruling this week came after Nevada-based entertainment company, C4 Live, struck a deal to turn Lake Olmstead Stadium into a concert venue. Those plans ended abruptly weeks before a planned concert in 2022, leaving the county and many ticket buyers furious. A hearing to determine how much C4 Live will owe the county has yet to be set.

Atlanta Braves cap
Credit: File photo

Story 12:

Peter Biello: In sports, the Atlanta Braves begin a three-game series at home tonight against last year's World Series champion Texas Rangers. And in Columbus, work is underway to transform Golden Park into the new home of the Braves' AA affiliate. Crews last week began demolishing parts of the nearly 100-year-old park, and the franchise owner launched a website fans can use to register for season tickets and club seats. The website is


Story 13:

Peter Biello: There is plenty to do around the state this weekend. Let's start in South Georgia. The Spring Fling and Backyard. Barbecue Festival's in Moultrie. There's a Pondtown festival in Rhine. The Valdosta Blueberry Festival will feature blueberries, brews, and blues. The 41st National Mayhew Festival is in Colquitt, Ga., and Douglas will play host to the Wings & Things Festival and Fly-in. Around the Atlanta metro area, you will find the Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival, Dunwoody's Lemonade Days Festival, Kennesaw Big Shanty Festival, Locust Grove Day on Main Street in Locust Grove and Cartersville's Barbecue and Brews. Middle Georgia has Barnsville's Barbecue and Blues Festival. The Southland Jubilee in Greensboro, the Possum Hollow Festival in Dexter, the Thomaston Art and Soul Festival, Music + Makers 24 on the downtown square in Washington, and the Effingham Festival, presented by the Historic Effingham Society in Springfield, Ga. And finally in the North Georgia mountains, there's the Georgia Mountain Trail Fest in Ellijay and Bear on the Square in Dahlonega.

And that is it for this edition of Georgia Today. If you want to learn more about any of these stories, visit And if you haven't yet, subscribe to this podcast. Take a moment right now and keep us current in your podcast feed. We'll be back in your podcast feed on Monday afternoon. And if you've got feedback, we'd love to hear from you. Send us an email. The address is I'm Peter Biello. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.


For more on these stories and more, go to

Tags: Atlanta  Georgia  podcast  news