Blog Du Jour

A Conversation With Diane Masciale, New General Manager of WLIW-FM

A new direction for a storied station.

On July 14, WLIW-FM opened its new studio in Southampton, introducing a dynamic new schedule featuring favorite local programs and newly added NPR and PBS titles. The WNET Group, parent company of WLIW21, acquired the station earlier this year.

Diane Masciale, Vice President & General Manager of WLIW21, became the new General Manager of WLIW-FM, and talks about her Long Island roots, her hopes for the new WLIW-FM, and more.

Where on Long Island did you grow up and live now?
I grew up in Lynbrook, where my Mom still resides in my childhood home, and spent summers on the East End with my grandparents. I now live in Rockville Centre and am thrilled to be spending more time on the East End at WLIW-FM in Southampton.

Favorite Long Island beach?
Any beach! I love to walk along the shore, swim and boogie board. The ocean, the sound, the bay. Long Island is a beach lover’s dream come true.

Diane Masciale and husband Jim Paymar at Coopers Beach, Photo: Courtesy WLIW

Favorite Long Island restaurant?
Any clam shack or lobster roll joint anywhere on Long Island.

Favorite Long Island cultural institution?
It’s hard to pick a favorite. But in the WLIW-FM neighborhood, I love walking around the corner from the studio on Hill Street to Southampton Arts Center for a moment on the beautiful grounds or to get my local art fix in the galleries.

Favorite things to do with your family on Long Island?
BBQ or play a friendly but competitive game of poker or Monopoly at home, go to the beach, and bike ride together.

Why is the East End special to you?
Growing up, I spent summers at my grandparents’ home on the East End. It was magical. We went swimming, boating, clamming, strawberry picking, and enjoyed every waking moment outside amidst the beauty and the wonder of the East End. I hold on to that idyllic childhood fiercely and feel it still when I am on the East End.

As a Long Island native, what does it mean to be General Manager of WLIW-FM?
Long Island is home. It is a part of my DNA. I am profoundly committed to Long Island, our communities, and our way of life here and feel a great sense of responsibility and gratitude in leading Long Island’s local public media.

You worked in network news before coming to public media. How is this experience different?
I loved working in commercial media, but working in public media is the pinnacle of my career. Content creation is at the heart of what we do in the media, but in public media we go beyond the content to engage with our communities in deeper ways. That community engagement is central to the mission of public media and what makes it so important and impactful.

How would you describe the role of WLIW-FM on the East End?
With the acquisition, The WNET Group brings together the only local NPR station and the only PBS station on Long Island—a marriage critical to the future of audience supported public media on Long Island. Now truly multi-platform with radio, TV, and digital, we have more entry points to create deeper community connections through the quality programming and engagement for which WLIW and public media are known.

Tell us about WLIW-FM’s new studio.
Our new state-of-the-art studio in downtown Southampton is street facing right next to the movie theater on Hill Street. Listeners are already walking by and giving us the thumbs up as they get a look at WLIW-FM in action.

What are some of the new additions to WLIW-FM’s line-up?
WLIW-FM/s new schedule puts local programs front and center. You’ll still hear Morning Edition with Long Island Host Michael Mackey, Heart of the East End with Gianna Volpe, The Afternoon Ramble with Brian Cosgrove, The Urban Jazz Experience and Friday Night Soul with Ed German and other local favorites – with All Things Considered, This American Life, and other national programs enhancing the listener experience. We’ve also added MetroFocus, WLIW’s news and public affairs program, to expand local coverage, as well as PBS NewsHour Weekend. Our audience can listen at 88.3FM or by streaming at wliw.org/radio, on apps like NPR One, and on smart speakers—anywhere at any time.

What issues important to Long Island do you hope to explore on WLIW-FM?
Critical topics are already part of WLIW’s footprint with our Peril and Promise initiative on the environment and Chasing the Dream reporting on income inequality. We’ll continue to cover those issues, as well as the pandemic, social justice, real estate, the push and pull of the summer and year-round residents, and other stories vital to the East End.

Do you have a special interest or hobby outside of work?
I love to cook and share a good meal with family and friends. I find cooking creative and relaxing. Plus, I’m Italian American, so food is central to life!

Listener supported WLIW-FM can be heard at 88.3FM and streaming at wliw.org/radio.

Elisa Lichtenbaum

Elisa Lichtenbaum, editor of the monthly THIRTEEN program guide, is a Senior Writer at WNET.

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