Long Island’s only National Public Radio station will soon have a new name.
Southampton-based 88.3 WPPB-FM, which can be heard throughout the East End, will switch to WLIW-FM in the coming months following the radio station’s acquisition by WNET, America’s flagship PBS station. WNET is the parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and the operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey.
The completed purchase was announced Friday morning. The sale was originally announced in October.
“With the acquisition of WPPB-FM, WNET is bringing together the only NPR station and only PBS station on Long Island,” said Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET, in a press release. “We see the marriage of these stations as an important step in securing the future of public broadcasting for the Long Island community.”
The purchase was approved by the FCC and the New York State Attorney Genera’s office, according to a press release. The purchase makes WLIW a dual licensee, operating both a PBS television station and NPR radio station.
Long-serving WPPB-FM general manager Wally Smith will become general manager emeritus.
“We are grateful to WPPB general manager Wally Smith, who helped build the station into a beacon for the community and whose guidance we’ll continue to count on,” Mr. Shapiro said.
Diane Masciale, vice president and general manager of WLIW21, said the new entry point will allow for deeper connections in the community “through the quality local programming, conversations and community events for which WLIW, WPPB and public media are known.”
Mr. Smith said in a statement that the stations’ 40-year legacy will live on and thrive with WNET and WLIW21.
“We are proud to have built and maintained WPPB as an important and valuable home for NPR on Eastern Long Island and we could not have done it without the support of our board, staff and supporters who provided guidance all along,” Mr. Smith said.
Joe Werkmeister, editor of the Riverhead News-Review and The Suffolk Times, is a weekly guest on the Afternoon Ramble with Brian Cosgrove every Thursday at 2 p.m. where they discuss the week’s headlines on the North Fork. The Afternoon Ramble airs from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Long Island Morning Edition host Michael Mackey provides local weather updates and regional news stories and traffic reports from 7 to 9 a.m. Gianna Volpe hosts The Heart of the East End on weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon.
Peconic Public Broadcasting was formed in 2009 and purchased the station from Long Island University. LIU had run the station for over 20 years from its Southampton campus, which it sold to Stony Brook University in 2006. The school announced its intention to sell the station in 2009, citing $1 million in annual losses, including rent the school has been paying to Stony Brook.