Tag Archive | "wliu"

FCC Approves Peconic Public Broadcasting Purchase of 88.3 FM

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted its approval for the assignment of the broadcast license of WLIU-88.3 (FM) from Long Island University to Peconic Public Broadcasting (PPB).  The University and PPB anticipate closing the deal by early December.

“Long Island University always has believed passionately in the power of public radio. We are grateful to the citizens of the East End for their years of loyal support and for making Peconic Public Broadcasting’s acquisition of the license possible. We look forward to the early December closing, which would then allow Peconic to usher in a new era of community-based public radio in the region. We wish them all the best,” said Dr. David J. Steinberg, President of Long Island University.

“We are very excited by this news. It marks another major milestone for PPB on its journey to becoming a fully independent, locally-owned public radio station serving Eastern Long Island and Southern Connecticut,” stated Wally Smith, President of Peconic Public Broadcasting.

Radio 88.3 Deadline Extended Through September

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By Claire Walla

After Long Island University earlier this week gave Peconic Public Broadcasting a three-day reprieve to come up with the funding to complete the purchase of station 88.3 fm, the university on Saturday announced it would give the fledgling radio company further time to raise more than half-a-million dollars.

“Long Island University and Peconic Public Broadcasting, Inc. (PPB), have reached an agreement to extend the timeframe for PPB’s purchase of 88.3 (license) until September 28, 2010,” both groups said in a joint statement Saturday morning. “While PPB has not raised all of the funds required to complete the purchase, it has indicated that significant progress is being made, and Long Island University has agreed to the extension based upon their assurances that it will soon have the funding needed to purchase the station.”

It’s the stuff heart-warming movies are made of: grassroots company forms in an effort to save community radio station from private interests, while struggling to raise nearly a million dollars in less than a year. 

Only this tale is true, and we’re still not sure about the Hollywood ending.

On Tuesday, August 31, Long Island University extended the deadline for Peconic Public Broadcasting, Inc. (PPB) to come up with the money it still owes the university for the purchase of its radio license, a deal that would give PPB full control and ownership of local radio station 88.3fm WLIU (which would then become WPPB).  The company needs to come up with an additional $637,000, according to Long Island University Treasurer Robert Altholz.

Long-time WLIU station manager Wally Smith — who co-founded PPB last year when he caught wind that the station was up for bid — could not speak on the matter, only responding via e-mail: “We are at a very delicate phase of negotiations and are making no comments to the press.” 

However, he confirmed, fundraising efforts continue. 

Just Tuesday, PPB received a $50,00 donation from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.  And last week PPB took part in “Locals Live,” a concert put-on in conjunction with Old Whalers’ Church in Sag Harbor and organized by Bulldog studios.  Tickets were sold for $30 a pop and proceeds went to both to the broadcast company and the church.

Though PPB’s funds are still well under the targeted amount, the company has a plan for keeping negotiations open with LIU.  In a statement released to the press August 31, PPB’s Board of Directors confirmed : “PPB signed a Term Sheet with an area bank which has agreed, subject to satisfaction of certain conditions, to fund a loan sufficient to complete the purchase in the coming weeks. The Board and staff are optimistic that PPB now has the momentum to successfully complete the purchase [in September].”

PPB is still hopeful that community members will pull-through, ultimately donating substantial sums to help save the station as we now know it from going dark.

The only NPR affiliate in Eastern Long Island, WLIU has a reputation for broadcasting healthy doses of jazz and for churning out highly regarded regular programming from hosts Brian Cosgrove and Bonnie Grice. Prior to Saturday’s announcement, it was unclear whether they would remain on air in September.

On Tuesday, Treasurer Altholz said that the university would proceed by re-opening negotiations with last year’s top two bidders if PPB was unable to pay what’s due by the end of the business day on Friday, although that has chaged. (He also said that other entities have recently expressed interest in purchasing the station, as well; though he couldn’t mention any names.)

Altholz insisted that the station would continue to function until a deal is ultimately made, streaming broadcasts from NPR, PRI and Jazz Works. 

“We have people at the university that can operate the station until a successful new bidder can buy it,” he said. 

Though Altholz said he couldn’t divulge any information on any of the other bidders vying for the rights to LIU’s radio license—Dan’s Papers reported back in March that one such bidder was a religious order.

Back in September, when PPB won the bid to purchase WLIU, Long Island University President David Steinberg expressed in a press release his enthusiasm that the station would continue to run on a local level, with all programs and current operations kept in tact. He wrote:  “We are pleased that Peconic Public Broadcasting was able to move ahead with the purchase of the station. This allows the transformative power of public radio to continue to thrive on Long Island’s East End, providing a critical public service and enlightening listening audiences through innovative news and cultural programming.”

However, if LIU doesn’t accept the terms of PPB’s efforts to keep the station alive, 88.3fm will then go to the highest bidder.  

Radio 88.3 is Up Against It

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By Francesca Normile

In late September of last year, Peconic Public Broadcasting (PPB) offered over $2 million to Long Island University for the purchase of the 88.3 FM radio license. Winning the bid, WLIU General Manager Wally Smith announced his excitement at the station’s success and expressed his confidence that the station would raise the funds necessary to purchase the license.

Before the capital fundraising campaign for the purchase of the license could begin, however, PPB needed to sign the asset purchase agreement, which they did in mid-February. It was only after signing that agreement that they had the opportunity to begin their efforts toward buying the license.

“And if you recall,” said Smith with a laugh this past Monday, “this was not the perfect winter in fundraising, and not the perfect economy for it either.”

With a deadline set for the end of August, PPB devoted its attention to its campaign, with only six months to raise the money they had bid for the channel.

Smith, when asked how fixed the now fast-approaching deadline actually is, replies, “The university has claimed that it is an absolute deadline and if we fail to meet that deadline, the license will go to someone else.”

If PPB unable to raise the required funds by the end of this month, Smith says he presumes that it will go to the second highest bidder.

“I know there are one or two bidders behind us,” he says. “But I do not [know who the other bidders are]. I asked LIU and, inappropriately, they said they would not tell us.”

Smith explains that a total of $637,000 is due at the end of August in order to purchase the license.

“We have [$137,000] in the capital accounts, so we are working on the alternative 500,000,” says Smith. “It is taking a combination of cash and loans to close the deal. We still need at least $100,000 to $150,000.”

Raising $150,000 in twelve days is certainly a steep task, but Smith appears confident.

“It looks better and better every day,” he says. “Fundraising is not a science, it is an art. Nothing is predictable; nothing is absolute until the check is in the mail. We have every reason to believe that people want to contribute and that they will do so.”

The optimism of PPB half a year ago, when the bid was first won, leads to the question of whether or not the station had, at the start of their campaign, been confident in the contributions of donors who gave their word but did not actually pull through.

In response to this inquiry, Smith simply states, “Some people have contributed [the amount they had said they would], some have contributed at lower levels; but, again, we are feeling quite confident.”

Because the station is not permitted to request funds on the air— if those funds are to be put towards the purchase of the station’s license— PPB has had to get creative.

“We are fundraising in a couple of ways,” explains Smith. “We have been putting together chains of individuals with other individuals to identify prospects— that’s typical in fundraising. We had some members of the board introduce us to sources to donate, though the board is small. We’ve also used the press a lot, as they’ve been very generous, placing ads for us and so on.”

In addition to these methods of fundraising is the upcoming “Locals Live”— a benefit concert scheduled to take place on Wednesday, August 25 at the Old Whalers’ Church — the proceeds of which will go, in part, towards 88.3FM.

Addressing the critical rumors that have been circulating about how the payroll at PPB may be higher than perhaps it should be, Smith responds,

“Generally speaking we don’t comment on payroll issues, but I will say that the entire budget of the station has been modified to reflect the change in our circumstance. That is to say that everything has been reduced: operations, salaries, etc.”

As for the future of the station, should they be able to raise the money necessary to purchase the license at the end of the month, Smith said they will address PPB’s general operating needs

“In the short-term,” he explains, “the next focus will be on operating expenses, in order to sustain the operation of the station. But that has been going on alongside the capital raise and, in fact, over the past several months we’ve raised over $300,000 in operating costs. So we presume that will continue and we’ll just go back to our normal, on-air fund-drives.”

According to Smith, the Federal Communications Commission currently has a request to transfer the license and is prepared to act on it once PPB has completed the purchase of their license from LIU. What is pending now is PPB’s final payment, which will permit the FCC to go through with the final processing of the transfer.

In closing, Smith re-iterates his optimism in community support, saying, “We remain confident and have several major requests out to folks who have the capacity to help us move forward towards the goal of successfully completing this campaign. I’ll simply say, it’s not over til’ it’s over.”

WLIU Closes Deal, Set to Move to Southampton Village

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By Bryan Boyhan

Still unsure where they will operate from, Peconic Public Broadcasting signed an $850,000 contract this week to buy the license for radio station WLIU, the National Public Radio affiliate that has been operating on the Southampton Campus of what is now Stony Brook University. Work began this week to clear the station out of the studios it has inhabited for more than two decades, as per an agreement with the university after the state bought the campus from Long Island University three years ago. The most likely place the studios will land is the Parrish Art Museum on Jobs Lane in Southampton, although station manager Wally Smith said they are also considering another site on Hill Street in Southampton.

PBB signed the deal Monday with a $150,000 deposit, the balance to be paid in installments through June 30. The figure represents the amount the non-profit company bid in winning the license last fall against two other bidders. PBB is made up of friends and followers of WLIU, and fought a campaign to raise money to purchase the station when they learned last August Long Island University would sell it because it had been losing approximately $1 million a year for the past two years.

Smith acknowledged they are a ways from achieving the $700,000 they will need by the end of June, and that fundraising was “slower than we would like,” but was confident they would make their goal.

“Now that we have the asset, we can raise money against a real thing,” said Smith, who added he already had $100,000 dedicated to the final payment.

At the time the bid was awarded late last year, Smith estimated the total cost of acquiring the license and all the assets of the station and taking over control would total $2.425 million. That figure has been “negotiated down,” said Smith, and much of that money was for ancillary costs. About $600,000 was to reimburse Long Island University for expenses the university covered from October until PBB took over in December, including salaries and programming costs. Another $1 million was the estimated value for WLIU to provide programming for Long Island University’s radio station WCWP on its C.W. Post campus for three years. That, said LIU vice president for finance, Robert Altholtz, was no longer required in the agreement.

What remains is the $700,000 to be raised over the next several months, and, said Smith, “paying salaries for the station.”

Smith said the space had to be in “broom clean” condition by the end of March, and that the crew began this past Monday to clear out. He expected they would be in a new location within two weeks.

“We’re kind of doing this like an old fashioned barn raising,” said Smith, adding the staff themselves would be doing most of the moving.

Originally, the station had planned to move to Wainscott Studios, but Smith said discussions there had “begun to fall apart.” The spaces in Southampton were ultimately more attractive because the license itself was for Southampton and both locations had more foot traffic than the studio in Wainscott.

Peconic Public Broadcasting Wins Bid for WLIU 88.3fm

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According to WLIU General Manager Wally Smith, Peconic Public Broadcasting (PPB) has successfully won the bidding war for the 88.3fm radio license. In late September, PPB offered over $2 million for the license to Long Island University with the financial support of several private backers. Over the last few months, local politicians and community members have been rallying to save the radio station and it appears their efforts have paid off.

Above: WLIU General Manager Wally Smith (center) with local politicians and community figures at a press conference earlier in the year.

“We are thrilled and excited that we were successful,” announced Smith on Friday. “We will carry on the tradition of public radio on the East End and we are grateful to LIU for making this decision [to accept our offer.]“
Smith said the station will be able to continue operations out of their Stony Brook Southampton location until December. He added that there is a possibility the station could extend its stay for a few months into the new year. The station will most likely move on to the Wainscott Studios.
Peconic Public Broadcasting’s bid was most likely sweetened by an offer to continue hosting WCWP, the radio station out of LIU’s C.W. Post campus.
“They, [LIU], don’t have to make an investment in additional staff until they are financial secure,” said Smith of Peconic Public Broadcasting running WCWP.
Smith contended, however, that the organizations work is still cut out for them.
“Now, the fundraising side of this will kick in,” remarked Smith. “But we are confident that we will [raise the funds].”

Friends of WLIU Set to Bid for Station

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Poised to “Make an offer they can’t refuse,” as station director Wally Smith said, the fans of radio station WLIU rallied last Thursday evening at Bay Street Theatre to both raise awareness of the fragile state of public radio on the East End, and to infuse some energy into the movement that has seen more than 600 people volunteer to help save the station from closing — or be sold to another operator.

The recently-formed non-profit Peconic Public Broadcasting, Inc. delivered a sealed bid late yesterday, Wednesday, meeting a deadline set by the station’s owner, Long Island University, and its broker Public Radio Capital.

Long Island University, which has underwritten the station since its inception and has contributed over one million dollars each of the past two years, has said the station is simply too costly to continue supporting and needs to sell it to the highest bidder.

In an interview yesterday, Smith said the non-profit group Peconic Public Broadcasting, Inc., was to make a “fair and full value bid that is about twice what we believe to be fair market value.” Porter Bibb, a media consultant who has spearheaded the effort to create PPB, Inc. and its fundraising arm, Save Public Radio on the East End (SPREE), said two weeks ago that consultants have estimated the fair market value for the license and equipment to be about $1 million. It is estimated the cost of acquiring the station and its assets, as well as moving it to a new location — likely Wainscott Studios — would cost about $3 million

At Thursday’s rally, Smith said he did not know how many other suitors there were for the station, which would need to be sold to an organization which would run it as a non-profit, but said he and others were prepared to establish a new operating company within eight weeks to take the station over. Yesterday, he said he knew WNYC was “very interested” in the station, as well as several religious organizations.

It was, as on-air personality Bonnie Grice affirmed Thursday, an old fashioned rally. There were pickets and strong statements. Applause and fist pumps. It came with a drum beat, literally, and included a rendition of the 6os folk classic “If I Had a Hammer,” a tribute, in part, to Mary Travers the distaff part of the folky icons Peter, Paul and Mary, who had died just two days earlier.

Sung by local rock icon, Nancy Atlas, however, the song had lost none of its ‘60s-theme of hope and willfulness.

Atlas credited WLIU as being one of the venues through which local artists get their music heard over the airwaves, and urged the audience of about 200 to get ready to show their support.

“I’m up for the fight. Are you guys,” she called out to a round of applause.

Guitarist and singer Gene Casey of the Lone Sharks entertained with the song Louis Armstrong made famous, “What a Wonderful World.” And Casey was followed by singer Caroline Doctorow who did “Someday Never Comes” and thanked WLIU personality Brian Cosgrove and Grice for “playing every song I’ve ever played out.”

Audience members also took the stage to show their support. Walter Dunaway said he owed the station credit for helping him get his own cable television show about poetry. Dunaway said it was an interview on the Bonnie Grice show where he introduced his new book of poetry that helped him establish the contacts that led to his show,

“I’m going to support them,” he told the crowd, “and I don’t know what I’d do without them.”

Civil rights legend Bob Zellner says he gets to spend about four minutes a week saying things on the station that he could probably get arrested for in his native Alabama, and writer Linda Francke of Sagaponack said she remembered the “bad old days” before WLIU and praised the emergence of “this great new voice, Bonnie Grice.”

“It is unacceptable that we lose this station,” demanded Francke.

The evening was bookended by Samba Boom, a drum and percussion group that marched about thirty dancing musicians onstage, all dressed in white, beating drums and cowbells, filling the room with Latin rhythms.

“Stick with us,” called out Smith at the end of the evening, “we’ve got a long way to go.”

Conference to Save WLIU, Bay Street Open Mic Night to Follow

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This past Wednesday, Senator Kenneth LaValle was joined by several concerned elected officials and community residents in the fight to save public radio on the East End. Since Long Island University announced they would relinquish financial support of the station in the beginning of October, the community has gathered to form Peconic Public Broadcasting, Inc, with the intent of acquiring the station’s license and assets to make sure the current programming will continue.
“Since its inception, WLIU has played an influential role for eastern Long Island,” said Senator LaValle. “I have always been a supporter of the station and, in years past, was able to secure state funding for a transmission tower that allowed WLIU to expand its signal. Once again, I am happy to play a role in ensuring that the station continues to provide its listeners with the quality of programming they have come to enjoy.”
The lawmakers in attendance on Wednesday included Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr., Councilwomen Anna Throne-Holst and Nancy Graboski and Councilman Chris Nuzzi.
Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor will host an open mic rally on Thursday, September 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free; food and drink will be provided.

Wally Smith

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The general manager and director of WLIU, the Southampton-based public radio station, talks about the future of radio on the East End in the wake of the announcement that WLIU may be changing hands.

Given the recent announcement about possible changes to the station, what does the future hold for WLIU?

That is fully dependent on our ability to create a new non-profit corporation that if successful intends to re-employ the current staff at WLIU and continue to broadcast our local programming. If we are not able to do that for whatever reason, or are not successful in purchasing the license agreement then by October 3 it is all over.

What roles does WLIU play in the East End community?

Well, it is the only National Public Radio stationed licensed to a Long Island organization and the majority of our programming is locally produced. We are providing programming we would not be able to get from any other source. An operator from outside the area would probably not engage the staff to do local programming, so we play a pivotal role on the East End and are the flagship for any public radio that is Long Island based.

What kind of local programming does WLIU offer?

We provide something that as far as I know, is not done anywhere else in the nation. We do a two-hour arts and culture magazine show five days a week, which covers all the arts and cultural happenings. We have community forums on issues that affect the African American community on the East End. We have forums on the environment and we look at it from the perspective of the arts. We are in touch with and promoting art events across Long Island with an emphasis on the East End, dealing with conversations with hundreds of artists a week. We produce the only half-hour local daily news program on radio on Long Island, the Evening Report with Connie Conway, our news director. That program has won almost every major award from The Associated Press and the Long Island Press Association. So we have received professional endorsements, as well as public endorsements for the work we do. In the morning we take one hour of [National Public Radio’s] Morning Edition and insert local news programming. These are just a few examples. We also have afternoon music programming with Brian Cosgrove, who is really presenting a new music mix based in jazz that reaches out into other genres like blues to see if we can find new listeners. We have the Urban Jazz Experience with Ed German, which I call the Urban Home Companion. We have the irresistible Tracey Hotchner, who produces Dog Talk, which has become a sensation in the local community – we have been getting national exposure from her. Another local program being distributed nationally is Bonnie Grice’s The Song Is You, which gives people an opportunity to describe their life stories through music. That is currently being distributed in 90 communities. We also provide a lot of classical music programming. These are all local people and they are the ones we will lose if we don’t try and keep this alive.

What first drew you to public radio?

It was an accident. I was completing my graduate studies at the University of Southern California in 1971, 1972, which was the year NPR was founded. They were scouring the country to find college radio stations to agree to support NPR and came to the campus, talking the students into operating the station as the Los Angeles anchor for NPR. The university, under pressure from the students, decided they would do that and began to search for someone to run the station. The students said, we want you to hire Wally Smith … I literally fell into it, and it has been such an exciting life to be a part of the architecture of public radio.

Is there a way to revise the public radio business model to make it more economically viable?

Public radio, including ourselves, has been doing what all businesses have in this economy, scaling back and finding a way to reduce the cost of making what we make without losing the quality. It is difficult because the quality of NPR is based on the most expensive thing you can have in this business – talent. Commercial broadcasters long ago stopped doing this kind of programming because they could not afford it. We have really filled the gap – NPR and community radio – that the commercial radio industry could not afford to continue. As we rethink the model for public broadcasting, we have to be very careful we do not follow that same path or we will end up like the commercial stations …

We are looking at new technologies. NPR has launched a new website and hopes to generate new revenues, but is also looking at how to use more of our product in a second market to get more mileage out of what we are creating.

What, if any, changes would you make to programming at WLIU?

The only thing we would do is try and add to it with the resources we already have. We are a small staff – 13 people at most. I think when someone did a productivity report on our office, they found we were producing 230 percent. So we would try to do 250 percent. We would do more local events. Recently we were broadcasting live at the East Hampton Library’s Author’s Night. In fact, Congressman Tim Bishop has asked us if we would do a live telephone call-in show on healthcare at the end of August. That is the kind of direction I would like the station to keep moving in.

What would be your ideal radio station as a listener?

Well, since I am the program director at WLIU as well as the general manager, I think I am creating it. I am one of the few managers that believes radio should offer an eclectic offering of programming, various kinds of music, talk and news. I think it is abnormal to listen to one kind of radio – people never get a chance to discover something new … To me, that is what public radio should be doing, not providing one kind of thing.

Group Organized to Save WLIU

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While Long Island University, which owns WLIU radio, is “evaluating several options” for the station’s future — including selling it to another organization, creating an operating agreement with another station, or finding another public broadcasting station — a local non-profit group headed by station manager Dr. Wallace Smith is hoping to mount an effort to acquire the station. An apparent victim of the failing economy, the public radio station, which is based on the campus of Stony Brook Southampton, appears ready to go off the air unless officials can construct an 11th hour deal.

WLIU is the last vestige of Long Island University on the Southampton Campus, which the State University of New York took over three years ago. The station has been actively looking for a new location for more than a year, since its lease with SUNY Stony Brook expires on October 3 this year.

“WLIU offers innovative programming and provides an essential community service to Long Island; but, unfortunately, currently runs at a deficit that the university can no longer afford to subsidize,” said Robert Altholz, Long Island University’s vice president for finance and treasurer. The university’s trustees have stipulated that the expenses associated with operating the station must be eliminated, said the release. The university was subsidizing the station by “over a million dollars annually,” said Altholz in an interview this week.

The station had been losing money consistently, and Altholz said the annual deficit was typically in the $500,000 to $700,000 range. But in the past two years the shortfall topped $1 million each year.

“It has simply become too big a loss,” said Altholz.

The school’s treasurer said their decision to unburden themselves of the station was really the combination of two things: WLIU’s dramatic increase in deficit, and the financial pressure the economy has placed on the university itself.

The deficit, he said, would be tough “even in a great environment.”

“That being said, these are tough times for everyone,” added Altholz, who noted that both the endowment and the enrollment at Long Island University have been affected by the downturn in the economy.

“We had to take a look at all our options,” he said.

For the school’s “flagship” radio station (there is a smaller station, WCWP, on the CW Post campus in Greenvale) that meant contracting with a broker to find the best buyer for the station.

“Yesterday, sitting with my staff while the news was being delivered was like having open heart surgery with no anesthesia,” said Dr. Smith in an interview Friday. He said that the turn in the economy was “definitely a part of this.”

The station, which the release said serves about 400,000 people on eastern Long Island, Westchester and the southern Connecticut shore, is the only National Public Radio affiliate on Long Island and regularly features NPR programs like “Car Talk,” “The Splendid Table,” and “A Prairie Home Companion.” In addition, it features the locally-produced Bonnie Grice show, “The Song is You,” which has included guests like k.d. lang, Montel Williams and Michael Feinstein.

While the university is looking at possible agreements with existing organizations, Dr. Smith has been actively cultivating local community members who have an interest in preserving the station.

“I think we have a good shot at putting this together,” said Dr. Smith. “Already the outpouring of support is pretty significant.” He added he felt the ultimate cost of renewing the license and moving the station was “not that great.”

Involved will be literally moving the station and its tower off the Stony Brook Southampton campus and finding a new location. The general operating budget for WLIU is about $2 million annually, said Altholz. The appraised value of the license for acquisition purposes is about $800,000, said Dr. Smith, who quickly added he felt the number was high, and the university was currently doing a re-appraisal based on current economic conditions.

“I’ve put these numbers together and they’re not astronomical; but,” he conceded, “it’s going to be a tough 60 day period.”

“Several prominent citizens of the East End have expressed support for the establishment of a new nonprofit entity that will be able to purchase the license of WLIU,” added Dr. Smith.

To that end, he has begun to establish a board that will hopefully become the new owners of the station and is in the process of creating a website for “Save Public Radio on the East End.” He has given a name to the new venture: Peconic Public Broadcasting. It speaks, he said, to the focus a new station would take, with more locally-generated news and programming, and a re-dedication to the East End of Long Island, freer from obligations WLIU had with the university and West End issues.

Also this week, a trust fund was being established which will be able to receive contributions to help the new organization reach its goal.

Ultimately, though, the management of the station — whether it’s a local non-profit or a commercial entity — will come down to money. The university is obliged to sell to the highest bidder, according to Altholz.

“We have a fiduciary responsibility to the school and its students,” said Altholz, “and we need to accept the highest offer. When you’re a non-profit, you need to get the highest possible price. The net proceeds from the sale go back to the university.”

Altholz said their broker, Public Radio Capital, has “cast a wide net” for potential suitors, and said they already have “a significant number” of interested parties, although he declined to be specific.

Still, Dr. Smith remains optimistic.

 “The way people are responding to this, it’s difficult to ignore a local guy,” he said.

 Above: Inside the WLIU office on the Stony Brook Southampton campus.

East End Digest March 15

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Hoops Celebs Jump in for Shinnecock Museum Fundraiser

David Martine, Director and Curator of the Shinnecock Museum in Southampton, along with the Harlem Magic Masters basketball celebrity group and Shinnecock tribal member Jay “Master J” Bryant have announced the museum’s first fundraising event. The event, dubbed “Museum Magic: Hoops for History,” will be a family oriented evening of basketball and entertainment, on Saturday, March 21, at 7 p.m., and will be held at the Southampton High School gym.

The “Shinnecock All Stars” team, comprised of students, teachers, community leaders and tribal members from the East End, will challenge the Harlem Magic Masters, some of the country’s most accomplished basketball players. In addition to being gifted athletes, these players also act as goodwill ambassadors of the sport and are active role models for young children.

The game will kick off with a surprise local celebrity guest tossing out the first jump ball. Half-time activities include Shinnecock pow-wow style dancing and music, a preview of the museum’s maritime exhibit and an indigenous arts, crafts and traditional food market.

“We hope this event brings our culture and communities closer in an atmosphere of fun, while helping to raise essential funds for the Shinnecock Museum,” said Martine. “Tribal member Jay Bryant brought us this idea because he wants our museum and his culture to thrive and we wholeheartedly took on the project.”

Proceeds from the event will go toward enhancing and promoting the museum’s educational programs which are designed to engage visitors in unique cultural learning experiences.

The Harlem Magic Masters will perform basketball skills tricks and small dunks in an athletic spectacular appropriate for all ages. The players interact with fans by giving away prizes and autographs before and after the show. Traditional refreshments will be offered throughout the evening, include homemade samp, succotash, blueberry slump and fry bread, as well as popcorn and candy. Two separate raffles will also take place towards the end of the evening.

The event will also feature a preview of the “People of the Shore” exhibit at the museum which presents artifacts and historical as well as present day photographs about the enduring connection of the Indians of Eastern long Island with the sea. The entire exhibit is on view at the museum now through April 17.

Advanced tickets are $10 ($8 for children ages 5 to 12). Tickets at the door are $12/$10. Children under 5 are admitted free. Southampton High School gymnasium is located at 7 Leland Lane, Southampton.

The Shinnecock Museum is the only museum on Long Island owned and operated solely by Native Americans. The museum is located on Montauk Highway and West Gate Road, Southampton. For more information call 287-4923.

Sag Harbor

Music Students

Eight students from the Sag Harbor Union Free School District were selected to perform in the prestigious 2009 SCMEA Music Festival. The SCMEA Festival includes the top student musicians from across Suffolk County and allows students to demonstrate the skills they are developing in the schools with other musicians and to explore those same skills on a professional level.

The Sag Harbor students performing in the festival are Christopher Ritter, grade 5 in Division I Band, Rose Bishop, grade 8 in Division II Band, Gabrielle Gardner, grade 8 Division in II Chorus, Timothy Megna, grade 8 in Division II Orchestra, Holly Goldstein, grade 10 in Division III Chorus, Elizabeth Oldak, grade 10 in Division III Chorus, Xylia Serafy, grade 10 in Division Band, and Emily Verneuille, grade 9 in Division III band.

The students will perform this weekend with Division I playing Sunday, March 15, at 1 p.m. at Southampton High School. Division II students will also play on Sunday at Southampton High School, but at 5 p.m. Lastly, the Division III students will hold a performance on Saturday, March 14, at 8 p.m., also at Southampton High School.

Sag Harbor School


The Sag Harbor Elementary School will present an orientation program for the parents of children entering kindergarten in September of 2009. The program will be held on Wednesday evening, March 18, at 7 p.m.

Parents may register their child by picking up forms in the elementary school offices prior to the program on Wednesday.

In order to register, parents must bring a birth certificate and record of immunizations. Kindergarten entrants must have MMR inoculation, or measles, mumps, rubella before the start of the school year.

All children entering kindergarten also are required to have three doses of hepatitis B vaccine.

Prospective kindergarten students must be five years of age on/or before December 1, 2009.

For more information call 725-5301.


Boogie Night

The Ladies Village Improvement Society of Sag Harbor presents “You Should Be Dancing” on Saturday, March 21, at Ziggy’s on the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike. The music begins at 8 p.m. and continues through the evening. Admission is a $25 donation at the door. Happy hour prices will be in place throughout the event. Call Susan at 725-9803 for more information.

Bus Trip to NYC

Youth Advocacy & Resource Development (YARD) is organizing a spring break coach trip to Manhattan on Wednesday April 8 leaving Sag Harbor at 7:30 a.m. and leaving Manhattan at 5:30 p.m.

School families and faculty are invited to take advantage of the transportation to the city and spend the day as they wish. Tickets are $25 which includes gratuity, $20 for families of three or more and $30 for adults not accompanied by a student. Enjoy the day with family and friends, take in a show, visit a museum or go shopping. Reserve seats now by calling call Debbie Skinner at 725-5302 ext. 750.

The Pierson Experience

On Wednesday, March 18, Pierson Middle/High School will host its 3rd annual campus tour, The Pierson Experience. Parents and members of the Sag Harbor community are invited to attend this event which is sponsored by the students, teachers, and administrators of Pierson Middle/High School.

Interested parents and community members can make advanced reservations to attend one of three scheduled tours. Tours are scheduled at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. Reservations may be made via email: piersonex@yahoo.com, or by phone: 725-5302 extension 714. Please include first and last names, preferred tour time, a daytime phone number, and the number of people who will attend. Make reservations early as tour times are expected to fill quickly.

North Haven

Water Bill

At the March 5 North Haven Board of Trustees meeting, the board talked about investigating a suspiciously high water bill for the round-about at the intersection of Route 114 and Long Beach Road. The water bill, according to village clerk Georgia Welch, shows that the village used 178,323 gallons of water from March to October of last year.

“Something was messed up there, we’ve called landscapers and irrigation people and they said that it is impossible for us to use that much water,” Welch said.

She added that landscapers told her new plantings would “rot in the ground” if they were to get that amount of water.

The bill was paid in the amount of $278, but the trustees want to sort out the discrepancy with the Suffolk County Water Authority before turning on the irrigation system again in spring.

At the meeting North Haven Village trustees also proposed legislation to extend the implementation date of a new Energy Star requirements law. The proposed law would push back from April 1, 2009 to April 1, 2010 the required implementation of Energy Star Ratings for construction in the village. A public hearing will be held on April 7, 2009 at North Haven Village Hall for consideration of adoption of the law.


Parrish and WLIU

The Parrish Art Museum and WLIU/Long Island University Public Radio have launched a series of “Teen Tours” that provide an opportunity for high school students to explore the visual arts in their own words and to be heard both online and on the air. The next “Teen Tour,” scheduled for Friday, March 13 on “In the Morning with Bonnie Grice” will focus on the work of the painter Fairfield Porter, who lived in the village of Southampton from 1949 until his death in 1975.

The participating students are Avery Reisig and Abigail Bonilla, who will discuss Porter’s 1952 painting “Laurence Typing,” a portrait of the artist’s son.

“Teen Tours” was established to encourage students to examine works of art in-depth and to share their impressions with a larger audience. Initially, students will focus on the Parrish Art Museum’s recently launched website, East End Stories. Created with the assistance of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services Museums for America initiative, the site enables users to discover the contribution artists of the East End have made to the history of American art, experience the area’s unique geography and its attraction to artists, and explore the connections among the more than 650 artists who have visited, lived, and worked in this region since the early nineteenth century.

Bonnie Grice, host of “In the Morning,” notes, “On a recent trip to MoMA I picked up one of the audio tour guides, and it happened to be a series designed, produced and narrated by teens. It was an incredible new way to experience these works. Standing in front of a Rauschenburg or Lichtenstein or Johns, and guided by these young voices, was a transforming experience – one I wanted to recapture for radio. We’re thrilled to be able to collaborate with such a talented and imaginative group of students. It’s a chance to view art through new ears.”

For the “Teen Tours” program, students consider a single work of art from the online collection, and compose a short response piece. The student then works with WLUI 88.3 FM’s production department to record a piece that will be broadcast on the station. In addition to running on “In the Morning,“ the tours will be simulcast on WLIU.org’s website and will be available as podcasts on the Parrish’s website.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 25 Job’s Lane, Southampton.

East End


Spokespeople of Eastern Long Island, a newly established organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life locally by promoting and facilitating road and trail cycling for both recreation and transportation, invites the general public to an open meeting on Sunday, March 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Rogers Memorial Library, 91 Coopers Farm Lane, Southampton Village.

The group’s agenda and organization will be discussed at the meeting. Topics will include making roads more bike friendly, creating more bike lanes, maintaining mountain bike trails and summer cycling events.

The group also recently announced the appointment of the following officers and members of the board of directors: President Spencer Wright, Vice President Jennifer Keller, Treasurer Dennis Loebs, Secretary Hank De Cillia, Mike Bottini and Jen Gatz