10/31/10 7:39pm
10/31/2010 7:39 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO Morning news host Michael Mackey (seated) and station manager Wally Smith at WPPB's Southampton studio. The FCC recently approved the radio station's license transfer from Long University to Peconic Public Broadcasting.

The Federal Communications Commission has approved a license transfer for radio station 88.3 FM, which Long Island University is in the process of selling to the nonprofit Peconic Public Broadcasting group. The approval brings the deal one big step closer to completion.

LIU and Peconic Public Broadcasting, which is headed by former staffers of the college’s defunct WLIU radio station, anticipate finalizing the $2.4 million sale in December.

“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,” said station manager and PPB president Wally Smith.

The station, which now operates under the call letters WPPB, is the only NPR affiliate based on Long Island.

“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,” said LIU president Dr. David Steinberg. “We wish them all the best.”

Last September, after months of uncertainty, PPB announced it had raised the final $637,000 cash payment needed to buy the station’s license and equipment from LIU.

The university, which has owned 88.3 FM for more than 20 years, had given the group Sept. 28 as the final deadline for making the $850,000 payment. The previous deadline was June 30, which was then extended three more times at PPB’s request.

LIU operated the radio station from its Southampton campus, which it sold to SUNY/Stony Brook in 2006, for more than two decades. LIU announced its intention to sell the station last year, citing $1 million in annual losses for running it, including rent the school had been paying to Stony Brook.

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This post was originally published Oct. 15, 2010

10/11/10 5:53pm
10/11/2010 5:53 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO Riverhead High School's student radio crew last year: (from right) general manager Dave Talmage, chief engineer Sean Roche, general manager Kyle Kratoville and maintenance guy Steven BackelThe student-run Riverhead High School radio station has been off the air for the entire school year so far due to lack of a faculty advisor.The station, which began running in the spring of 2009, was called WRHS and was located at 94.9 FM on the dial. It also broadcast over the internet, running live around noon most days and then streaming archived programs at other times.

As of now the station is broadcasting dead air.

“The station has since been shut down by the school officials due to a lack of personnel,” said Kyle Kratoville, who was the general manager of the station. “The studio is locked up and off limits. I’ve exhausted all of my options in trying to get the school to reopen it,”

He said the station operated throughout most of the 2009-10 school year, but was shut down last May “until further notice.”

When the station first went on the air, teacher Bob Mills was  the advisor, but he’s no longer available and a replacement has not been found.

Principal David Zimbler said the students cannot operate the station without an adult advisor.

He said he met with Kyle this week to discuss the issue with him and said that if an advisor can be found, the station can get back on the air. The difficulty is that most teachers teach during the day, when the advisor would be needed.

Mr. Zimbler said it is possible to have more than one teacher act as advisors and split the duties.

Kyle says there is great interest among students in reviving the station.

“We had 27 students on the station’s roster at the end of last year,” he said. “Students ask me everyday, when is the radio station going to get back on the air? If they gave me the go-ahead, it could be back on the air tomorrow afternoon. It bothers me that all these students are interested and I feel like I’m letting them down.”

Kyle said he has donated sophisticated equipment to the station which would enable it to do remote broadcasts and has spent $600 of his own money on the station.

Kyle has been working as a disc jockey on WRIV 1390 in Riverhead for four years and his father, Jack, also was a disc jockey.

In fact, his father started a radio station in Riverhead High School when he was a student in 1978, although it only broadcast inside the cafeteria. Kyle said WRHS’s signal made it as far as points in Aquebogue, Flanders and Calverton.

“I’m hoping, but at this point, I don’t see much to be hopeful for,” Kyle said.

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