Tag Archive | "WPPB 88.3"

Water’s Edge Radio Hour Celebrates Local Voices of the East End

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.web Waters Edge Radio Hour @ Wolffer 11-9-13_1804

By Tessa Raebeck; photography by Michael Heller

Without lighting effects, set design or elaborate costumes, the audience is transported in time and setting, traveling from the waiting room of a modern day doctor’s office to the whaling docks of 1840’s Sag Harbor in a matter of minutes.

“Language is the most powerful thing we have,” says Josh Perl, co-creator of Water’s Edge Radio Hour, a new variety show on WPPB, 88.3 FM. “Good writing is compelling. We can transport people there with just a few words or sound effects and their imagination follows the rest of it.”

Along with partners John Landes and Peter Zablotsky, Perl proudly unveiled his newest project in the tasting room at Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack last Saturday.

A locally based radio show a la “A Prairie Home Companion,” Water’s Edge promises to capture the unique character of the East End without catering solely to visitors. The hour-long program includes three short plays, three essays, and two full songs, as well as musical interludes. It will be performed before a live audience and recorded for broadcast on WPPB.

Inspired by his own love of radio, Landes came up with the idea for an East End variety show and quickly enlisted the expertise of Zablotsky and Perl, partners in the Naked Stage Theatre Company and HITfest, the Hamptons Independent Theatre Festival. Perl and Zablotsky added theater connections and experience to Landes’ vision. Also contributing acting chops, Perl hosts the show.

While many local artists wait to unveil their projects until the crowded summer months, Landes felt the winter was the perfect time for Water’s Edge to begin regular broadcasting.

“It occurred to me that the Hamptons – the North and the South Fork – in a lot of ways are perfect for a show like this because we have kind of a captive audience in the winter time,” said Landes. “Those of us who live out here year round and love living out here year round, we know each other in the community and there’s so many good, talented people out here – writers, actors and people who love it out here and want to get the message out to others about what it’s like out here.”

In April, Water’s Edge presented a pilot run at Guild Hall. The story centered on the conflict between a well-known group of locals and some unwelcome outsiders, represented by surprisingly talkative deer ticks and bed bugs.

Following positive feedback on the pilot, Landes, Perl and Zablotsky moved forward, crafting enough material for four shows and continuously working on more. The environment could switch from a whaling ship to a corn maze instantly; it is entirely dependent on sound effects made by the actors. In one scene, two dads sit in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, supported by sounds of a receptionist, baby noises, and Velcro ripping.

“The nice thing about radio is you can do anything,” says Perl. “Our tagline is where anything can happen – and it usually does. We’re able to transport people to the Sag Harbor waterfront in 1840 where Herman Melville is seeking work on a whaling ship.”

Although they range in time period and location, all sketches have one common thread: humor.

“He just happens to have a Jewish mother who’s very worried about him being in a boat with 100 men. His mother errs on the side of a little bit over protective, she wants him to be a butcher like his older brother,” Perl says of Herman Melville.

The creators are hopeful this is the start of a long running variety show with locally written pieces and locally based characters, ranging from celebrities to surfers to fishermen. Water’s Edge strives to go beyond the public’s perception of “The Hamptons” and deliver a compelling and authentic narrative that includes the year round community. Composed entirely of original work, the program is wholly inclusive; the creators are consistently looking for new local writers to contribute editorials and plays. According to Perl, although the plays use “Hamptons kinds of archetypes,” the stories are universal. In one scene, a wealthy older couple searching for entertainment during a fall visit find themselves slightly out of place in a corn maze.

“When a friend tells you a story about people you don’t know, if they’re a good storyteller, you’re right there in the moment with them,” he said. While the stage actor acknowledges that costumes and set design add to certain productions, he said that without those elements, radio allows for the text to truly triumph.

To complement the stories, Hopefully Forgiven, comprised of musicians Brad Penuel and Telly Karoussos, will perform several times during the show.

Water’s Edge Radio Show celebrates the East End community in a way “the Hamptons” are not always celebrated – from a local perspective – and it does so with good humor.

“It’s kind of funny,” says Perl of the variety show. “It’s not kind of funny, it’s actually very funny.”

Upcoming live broadcasts of Water’s Edge Radio Hour will take place on November 23 and December 14 at 7 p.m. at the Wölffer Estate Winery Tasting Room, 139 Sagg Road in Sagaponack.

A Community Radio Station Enters its Second Year of Independence

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By Kathryn G. Menu

It has been two years since WPPB 88.3 FM left its ivory tower at the Long Island University’s former Southampton campus. The fledgling radio station found a new home in Southampton Village, and according to general manager Wally Smith it has also found a new connection to the North and South forks, with residents and musicians streaming through its very accessible doors.

Walking into the Hill Street home of WPPB 88.3, one is immediately greeted to the left by one of the station’s on-air personalities — Bonnie Grice, Brian Cosgrove, Ed German, Michael Mackey and others — bringing listeners a mix of news, pop culture, arts and numerous genres of music aimed at capturing the heart and soul of East End, according to Smith.

It’s a goal achieved better by being a not-for-profit radio station, said Smith, with a home that gives the station and its personalities — its soul— a more accessible place for residents to reach out to them.

But developing the kind of community programming that makes Peconic Public Broadcasting the public radio station for the East End, requires funding.

The station is currently in the throes of its annual appeal. Residents on the East End or southern Connecticut can support the station by visiting www.peconicpublicbroadcasting.org.

It was just two years ago that WPPB 88.3 was born, changing its call letters to reflect its independence after WLIU was purchased from Long Island University in 2010.

The station had long broadcast out of a state-of-the-art studio at the Southampton campus in Shinnecock Hills, but in 2009 Long Island University announced it would cease funding of the station and sell its license.

For Smith and Grice, as well as much of the 88.3 family, it was immediately apparent there was a community need, and desire, for the station to live on. And so, through fund raising the not-for-profit WPPB 88.3 was created.

While the station is still growing towards having, for example, the local news staff and programming that once existed at WLIU 88.3, on Tuesday Smith said the station’s development is right on track, with new local programming as well as the expansion of existing shows like Grice’s Conversations at the Café. That program, which features local artists, news, music — virtually every aspect of the East End — has evolved to include what Grice and Smith call Sessions at the Café, programming dedicated to live, local music programming.

“What we are really lacking right now is the restoration of our newsroom,” said Smith on Tuesday. “At the very baseline, we want to get back to where we were. At the time we were very successful in regional and local news gathering. We had established a reputation with newsmakers and at one time were bringing down a number of awards from the Long Island Press Association and the Associated Press for radio broadcast journalism. And it was all locally produced.”

“A goal would be to get that back. I see this community as a local community that has things happening of national and international interest,” said Smith. “I can see us developing programming that could eventually provide resources to National Public Radio.”

“The plan is pretty grand, but we wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t think that way,” laughed Smith.

Musically, the station has thrived, said Smith, from featuring the Jazz Jam at Bay Burger, to programming developed in concert with Crossroads Music owner Michael Clark and Grammy Award winning engineer Cynthia Daniels.

“We have made a significant outreach to that community and this place on some days is more like a concert hall,” said Smith.

Continuing to foster relationships with local media, including featuring newspaper editors weekly, Grice has also developed the Media Mavens— a roundtable of local arts and news editors which records live on Fridays and is rebroadcast on Saturday mornings.

“I think one of the most impressive things that has happened in our relocation from a state of the art facility atop a building at Southampton College is we have come down to earth in a very positive way,” said Smith. “People are literally walking in our doors with ideas, whereas before we were kind of secluded into our ivory tower.”

That connection, noted Smith, will only grow if plans to move the radio station to the proposed Southampton Center for the Arts becomes a reality. The center is a concept being developed by Southampton Village as a not-for-profit entity to revitalize the former Parrish Art Museum space on Jobs Lane. The station is proposed to be a part of that facility, with a street front space where residents meandering down Jobs Lane will literally be able to watch radio broadcasts live.

If that concept does come to fruition, said Smith, it will also enable the WPPB talent to work in private spaces as well, as opposed to its Hill Street office which is largely an open, communal space.

Funding, of course, is always an issue. Smith said the station has proven itself as an entity that is not going anywhere, which has made it easier to fundraise. This fall, the station met its goal during its fall fund drive — a first in station history. For Grice, it is a testament to the community support the station has, but also that it is excelling in providing programming that is truly engaging the community.

“We live here, we work here, and we are inviting people to be a part of this conversation,” said Grice. “It’s music, it’s news, it’s sitting down and telling our stories. No interview is too small. Our independence has allowed us the freedom to do that.”

To learn more, or to contribute to the station’s annual appeal, visit www.peconicpublicbroadcasting.org.

WPPB 88.3 & Guild Hall Benefit Set for Friday

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Scores of local musicians are expected to turn out this weekend to support two local non-profit institutions at a benefit concert courtesy of Amagansett’s Crossroads Music.

On Friday, November 30 at 7 p.m. Crossroads Music presents On the Air @ Guild Hall: A Community Benefit for WPPB 88.3 FM and Guild Hall. Money raised from the concert will support the efforts of Southampton-based WPPB, the local NPR station, as well as East Hampton’s Guild Hall, a center for arts and theater in the community.

Hosted by Grammy Award winning recording engineer Cynthia Daniels, along with the WPPB team – Bonnie Grice, Brian Cosgrove and Ed German – the concert will be directed by Randolph Hudson III and recorded by WPPB 88.3 for posterity.

Performers will include drummer Corky Laing from Mountain, the Kerry Kearney Band, Black & Sparrow (Klyph Black and John Sparrow), Miles to Dayton, The Black Petals, K-O-S (Keeping Original Sound), Glenn Feit, Dick Johansson, Alfredo Merat, the Ross Brazilian Jazz Quartet and more.

Tickets are $20 for general admission, $18 for members and $10 for students. Guild Hall is at 158 Main Street, East Hampton. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.guildhall.org.