Broadcasting from Southampton Village, Peconic Public Broadcasting on 88.3 FM features local shows interspersed with national programs. From “Heart of the East End” mornings with Gianna Volpe (who also writes for The Independent) to “Friday Night Soul” with Ed German, and Ann Liguori’s “Sports Innerview,” the station has developed a dedicated group of followers in its broadcast zone from Montauk to Centereach and Southern New England.
On Friday, January 31, WPPB was acquired by WNET, America’s flagship PBS station, parent company to New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21. The purchase makes WLIW a dual license, operating as both an NPR radio station and PBS television station, the only one of its kind on Long Island. Dr. Wally Smith, long-serving WPPB-FM general manager, will become the station’s general manager emeritus.
“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.” said Dr. Smith. “The station’s 40-year legacy of excellent programming and community service will live on and thrive with WNET and WLIW21.”
Through both online streaming and traditional televised programming, WNET is dedicated to bringing quality arts, education, and public affairs programming to an audience of over five million each month through New York and New Jersey. Some of its acclaimed PBS titles include “American Masters,” “PBS News Hour Weekend,” and a nightly interview program with “Amanpour and Company.” WNET’s ALL ARTS creates free, multi-platform programming featuring original shorts and films online or on the 24/7 broadcast channel.
Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET said, “We see the marriage of these stations as an important step in securing the future of public broadcasting for the Long Island community. 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.”
WLIW21 is a family member within the WNET families. It has served both Long Island and tri-state area residents since debuting its first broadcast in 1969. Viewership reaches approximately one million people on a weekly basis with a freshly renovated production studio in Plainview. It presents popular PBS programming in addition to featuring British television such as “Doc Martin” and “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery.” Its local programs have grown in popularity such as “MetroFocus,” “WLIW Arts Beat,” “Treasures of New York,” and “The Long Island Screening Room.”
“We are excited about the potential that adding an NPR radio station to the WLIW family will bring,” said Long Island native and resident Diane Masciale, vice president and general manager of WLIW21 and executive producer of local productions at WLIW. “Now that public media on Long Island is truly multi-platform, we’ll have a new entry point to create deeper connections in the community through the quality local programming, conversations and community events for which WLIW, WPPB, and public media are known. Wally Smith and his staff created a wonderful foundation on which we’ll continue to build.”
According to insiders, upgrade to the station’s equipment is first on the to-do list. The station is still dependent on listener support to meet its bottom line.
The station call letters will be changed from WPPB-FM to WLIW-FM in the coming months.