Success! East End’s NPR affiliate will stay put

Peconic Public Broadcasting, the group that runs East End public radio station 88.3 FM, has raised the money to buy the station’s license and equipment from Long Island University.

The group will make the final $637,000 cash payment through a combination of donations and a loan from Bridgehampton National Bank, the station and the university announced in a statement Tuesday afternoon. The money to pay back the loan will be raised through the station’s capital campaign.

PPB has already made down payments totalling $213,000 on the $850,000 owed the university since the group, headed by radio station staffers, beat out two other suitors seeking to purchase the station last October. At that time, PPB signed a $2.4 million deal to buy the station for $850,000 cash, with the remainder to be paid as services to the university in the form of technical support for LIU’s radio station, WCWP in Brookville.

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 has since been extended three more times at PPB’s request.

The final deal requires the approval of the Federal Communications Commission, which LIU expects to receive within the next few weeks.

“We are pleased that this transaction may now be completed and are heartened to know that the rich tradition of community-based public radio on Long Island’s East End, which the university has proudly cultivated for decades, will continue to flourish,” said LIU president David J. Steinberg.

“We have reached an important milestone in the community’s effort to save local public radio,” said veteran station manager Wally Smith. “This is one more example of the East End community working together at every level to preserve an important community resource.”

LIU had run 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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