FCC approves 88.3 FM transfer

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

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