The Voice of the East End

Posted on 10 April 2009

Tuning in to listen to local basketball games, waiting to discover what schools were cancelled on cold, snowy mornings, and learning where we could find shelter as storms raged outside our homes – we could always count on Paul Sidney to celebrate the best times, and give us guidance during difficult times, on 92.1 WLNG.

Last week we lost the voice of the East End with the death of Paul Sidney – a man whom, with seemingly boundless energy, broadcast community news, small and large, into our car radios and homes with an enthusiasm reserved for the best in our business. The first, and the most well known on-air voice at WLNG, Paul was a legendary figure for many on the East End, especially in Sag Harbor, where he created a radio station many recognize as an integral part of the community identity.

In many ways, Paul was WLNG. So strong was his influence, so unmistakable the reverb behind his voice and so distinct his style, he built a visual picture in an aural medium. The intimate relationship he developed with the community, what he did to insinuate WLNG into the life of the East End, from car dealership openings to fairs and carnivals and parades, to the wall-to-wall coverage of high school sports, gave the station its flavor. He made WLNG a cherished partner with the East End community – everyone’s hometown radio station, Paul its mouthpiece.

He often referred to the “tireless wireless” – taking the station from location to location. Paul thrived in storms and disasters, reveling in his ability to bring people together, to help in the midst of a hurricane or blizzard. As a news publication, The Sag Harbor Express has always had a tremendous amount of respect for what he was able to do, and what he inspired his crew to do – the mission he created in broadcast news.

Certainly, Paul’s is a voice that will be missed. Since his passing last week we have heard him described as an icon, a character, a legend. The sound of his voice, its quality was unique – not always attractive, but electric. Even when Paul was sitting down he was animated. His voice broadcast an energy, an urgency and excitement that demanded the listener pay attention. It’s a voice that will be missed in Sag Harbor, and across the East End. 

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One Response to “The Voice of the East End”

  1. Tim McGuire says:

    There is a stretch of I-95 in Conn. where WLIW comes in on a car radio clear as a bell. Driving to New England from Manhattan, it was always fun to tune in for Paul’s distinctive voice in full reverb and imagine Main Street in Sag Harbor on a Saturday morning instead of the busy highway. Even though you were a long distance away by road, you knew it was only a short distance across the Sound as the sea gull flies.

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