Tag Archive | "wehm"

A Community Gathering Place on the Air Waves

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web biz WEHM pic

By Emily J. Weitz

In the summer months, it’s easy to see who your neighbors are. The person lounging next to you on the beach or the kid riding his bike down the block comprise your community. But as the thermometer drops, half the population flees and the rest of us take refuge in our respective homes. It’s now that community becomes a more vague concept.

Before the dawn of the internet, local television and radio (and newspapers) were the great connectors, the entities that could overcome snow and cold to report the news and keep communities tightly knit. These organizations have always been at the center of a wheel, with spokes that reach out into all areas of the population. Long Island Radio, which is the umbrella for WEHM, WBAZ, and Beach 101.7, serves a large percentage of the population on the East End, and they do so with a small-town sensibility that keeps the public domain alive on the airwaves.

“We’ve always seen ourselves as part of the community,” says Suzanne Wolfson, General Sales Manager for Long Island Radio.

That’s why they want to be at community events, like the upcoming tree lighting in Sag Harbor this Friday.

Long Island Radio was once an exclusively East End station, serving the area from Southampton to Montauk. But in 1997, when all three stations (WEHM, WBAZ, and Beach 101.7) merged together, their base expanded. Now they reach listeners from Montauk to Bay Shore, plus the North Fork and parts of southern Connecticut.

But even with that growth, the philosophy at the radio station has been to remember its local flavor, said Wolfson. This manifests itself in a variety of ways, from the local music played on the air to the local organizations the stations promote.

Wolfson believes that as a local radio station, supporting the community is “our responsibility. There’s no question about it. And it’s fun. We are a small station based in Water Mill and it keeps us personally connected. We promote local artists by having them come in and promote their work… One of our key features on EHM is the EHM Local every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7:20. There are many talented musicians in our area, and it’s a very competitive market out there.”

Of course, promoting local musicians is the most obvious way for a radio station to support the community. But in addition to that, Long Island Radio sponsors events that keep the public feeling a sense of cohesiveness even in the darkest winter months.

“We partner with Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center to try to get special concerts for emerging artists during the winter,” says Wolfson. “Tickets are $20, and everybody comes because they don’t have a million other things to do.”

One of the most important ways that the radio station supports the community, though, is by giving a forum for non-profits and charity organizations to get some exposure.

“We get frequent notices from communities from Brookhaven to Montauk asking for help,” says Wolfson. “So we’ve created the community calendar which is limited to only non-profits.”

On all three radio stations throughout the day, hosts will announce events on the community calendar. The radio personalities are also encouraged to choose causes that matter to them for coverage. For example, “Last weekend Antony put together a feature for small business Saturdays to support our local businesses. And Harry covers a charity to support autism research every year.”

Long Island Radio is a communication hub, a home base for a community sprawled out. Not only can the radio alert listeners to what’s going on, Wolfson said, but they can also work to bring advertisers and sponsors together.

“We connect our clients and ask if they can be a drop off spot for Long Island Cares boxes,” she said. “We have collaborations to help organizations such as Toys for Tots, Coat Drives, and individual families or people in need.”

Supporting the community is a pattern among radio stations out here, and Wolfson is quick to point out that WLNG, another major local station, has also been very active. “They’ve been around for a long time,” she says, “And they’ve done a tremendous amount for the community.”

WEHM will be broadcasting live from Long Wharf this Friday, December 2, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Incumbents Will Seek Re-Election This June

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Incumbent Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride will seek a second term at the helm, along with incumbent trustees Ed Gregory and Tim Culver and appointed Sag Harbor Village Justice Andrea Schiavoni. All four will vie to keep their seats under the Sag Harbor Party, which has dominated village government throughout several administrations.

With the deadline to submit petitions to run for village office just a month away, no contenders have yet to pick up a packet from the Municipal Building, according to village administrator Beth Kamper. Interested parties have until May 5 to collect 50 resident signatures to run in the election, which will be held June 21.

For Gilbride, the decision to run for a second term — something the mayor said he would not likely do when elected two years ago — comes from a desire to see several projects, and a lawsuit, to the end before he takes his leave of public service.

The lawsuit is a $30 million one filed by East End Ventures that claimed the village intentionally re-zoned the firm’s Ferry Road parcels in order to prevent a condominium project to move forward.

While the case was dismissed earlier this winter, a judge has allowed East End Ventures attorney to re-plead one aspect of the case — that the condominium project proposed was similar to the village-approved condominium project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory. The case is still pending.

“I would also like to see as much of the Havens Beach remediation completed,” said Gilbride.

The village recently received a proposal by its environmental planning consultant Rich Warren to remediate the drainage ditch at the popular bathing beach, which has shown unsafe levels of bacterial contamination.

Gilbride said if re-elected, he would also like to see drainage improvements on Latham, Rogers and Henry streets completed in his next term. That neighborhood bore the brunt of flooding as a result of massive rain storms last March.

Gilbride said he was thrilled the incumbent slate was running together as a team, and praised appointed village justice Andrea Schiavoni for running the village’s newly installed justice court throughout the winter.

“I have heard nothing but good responses about Andrea’s leadership and the convenience of having a court in Sag Harbor,” said Gilbride.

Incumbent trustee Ed Gregory, who brings over 20 years of experience to the board, having served as a member for close to 15 years in the 1980s and returning to the board in 2003, said like Gilbride there are projects he would like to see finished during his tenure on the board.

“We have been talking about Havens Beach for so many years now, and a plan is finally coming to fruition,” said Gregory, who added he would like to see the village through its purchase of Long Wharf from Suffolk County as well.

“I would also like to see what is going to become of Bulova,” he said. “It has been sitting there for so long and I would like the building inspector to investigate the condition of the building after this very harsh winter and see if it can still be renovated. It’s a safety concern. I am worried about bricks falling off that building.”

Culver, who for weeks now has said he would not seek a second term citing his bustling law practice and family commitments, changed his mind this week.

He said his goal is to ensure the village continues to keep its spending under control, and that the current board is on the right track, tackling issues like Havens Beach and the creation of the justice court.

“I want to continue what we have done, which is keep costs down, but address important issues like Havens Beach and preserving access to our waterfront,” said Culver.

Former mayor Pierce Hance, who was rumored to be seeking office this year, said on Monday that while anything is possible his candidacy “is not probable.”

Music Festival & Radio Station Announce Partnership

The MTK: Music to Know Festival announced a partnership this week with WEHM-FM 92.9 and 96.9, which will have exclusive broadcast rights to the summer music festival, scheduled for August 12 through August 14.

The location of the festival has yet to be finalized, as Sag Harbor residents Chris Jones and Bill Collage attempt to secure a commercial mass gathering permit to use land at the East Hampton Airport for the festival, which is expected to draw 9,500 concert goers and feature 20 bands over the two-day period.

The promoters already have approval to host the concert at Ocean View Farm in Amagansett, although a group of residents recently filed suit against the town to prevent the concert from moving forward at that location.

According to a release issued this week by public relations coordinator Michelle Fox, WEHM-FM will broadcast live during the two-day event, interviewing bands and spotlighting local charities. As a part of their permit application, Jones and Collage have agreed to make a $100,000 donation to local charities and food pantries.

In addition, WEHM-FM will promote the festival, offering a series of contests for VIP and General Admission tickets.

“We are very excited about our collaboration with MTK for the music festival this August,” said station manager Harry Wareing. “Our focus has always been ‘about the music’ and this is fantastic opportunity to share ‘EHM’s great sound with a partner who is equally enthusiastic.”

While the promoters have remained mum on who will headline the festival and what additional acts will perform, Fox said the line-up will be announced in coming weeks. Tickets are also expected to go one sale in mid-April.

Thiele Fights to Keep Saltwater Fishing License Enjoined

In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last week, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. requested the state drop its appeal of a December 2010 decision to enjoin the implementation of the State Saltwater Fishing License in the waters of seven Long Island Towns including all town waters on the East End.

Last week the State Legislature included Thiele’s proposal to repeal the license and fee and replaced it with a free registry to meet the requirements of federal law as part of the 2011 State Budget.

“I strongly opposed this law from the outset as an unwarranted infringement of the right to fish and the local home rule powers of our towns under the colonial patents,” said Thiele in a release issued last week. “A State Supreme Court Judge issued an injunction and now the State Legislature has repealed the law and enacted a free registry which is consistent with federal law, the Judge’s decision and the right to fish bestowed by the colonial patents. It would be silly for the state to now appeal this decision. First, it is moot. Second it would be a waste of state and local tax dollars to continue to litigate the legality of a repealed law. The Governor should direct the DEC and the Attorney-General to drop the appeal.”