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Nov 1, 2019 4:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

WPPB In Southampton Is Being Sold To WNET, New York PBS Television Station

Industry websites are reporting that WNET, the New York PBS television operator, is buying Southampton-based WPPB-FM.
Nov 5, 2019 12:15 PM

The trustees of National Public Radio affiliate WPPB Peconic Public Broadcasting have agreed to sell the 10-year-old public radio station to WNET, the owners of New York’s PBS television stations.

According to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission, which must still approve the sale, the public television company will pay $944,834 for the public radio station, it’s public broadcasting licenses and all its equipment.

Dr. Wallace Smith, the president, operations manager and program director for WPPB, and John Landes, the chairman of WPPB’s board of directors, both confirmed that a deal to sell the station has been reached but said they could not discuss the deal until the FCC and New York State attorney general’s office sign off on the transfer of the 88.3 FM channel.

Mr. Landes said the FCC has up to 60 days to issue its ruling on the license transfer.

The paperwork filed with the FCC includes an “operating agreement” option that allows the buyer, WNET, to contribute programming content to the station prior to the sale being finalized but expressly prohibits the buyer from operating the station. It also does not require the company to retain any of the current station’s personnel.

Peconic Public Broadcasting was created in 2009 in the scramble to keep the East End’s public radio station, then known as WLIU, on the air when Long Island University sold its Southampton campus to Stony Brook University, which declined to operate the station. The group was formed by a collection of WLIU employees — including Dr. Smith, who was the station manager at the time — and East End residents and was boosted by public officials who stumped for LIU to sell to the local group.

“I pity the person who gets in the way and tries to screw this up,” State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle said at the time.

After several hectic months of scrambling to raise funds and organize logistics, Peconic Public Broadcasting won a bidding war for the station with a $1 million bid for the purchase and relocation of the station.

The station was rebranded as WPPB and moved to a new studio in Southampton Village where it has persevered through years of tight budgeting and laborious fundraising.

It is the only NPR member station based on Long Island.

WNET owns two PBS television stations, Thirteen based in Newark, New Jersey, and WLIW 21 based in Garden City.

WPPB would be the company’s first radio station.

A spokesperson for WNET, Kellie Specter, said that the company cannot yet discuss the agreement with WPPB or its plans for the station.

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Hope not much changes on WPPB, it's a wonderful station.
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Nov 1, 19 6:28 PM
... great station, can only get better.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Nov 2, 19 9:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
The new morning dj kinda grows on you. Gives a new perspective, north and south forks. Afternoon ramble and Ed “Semper Fi” German keeps the groove going.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Nov 2, 19 9:16 AM
Love Gianna.
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Nov 2, 19 1:45 PM
Hopefully this allows the station to do more local programming. I enjoy the local news and programming when I can catch it, but the station just doesn't have a whole lot to listen to. Even when I do catch it, a lot of it seems pretty pretentious and frankly uninteresting to most people and I'm an avid NPR listener. I'm also not a huge fan of 90% of the music they play when they don't have programming on. It would be great if the new owners of the station worked on appealing to a larger and younger ...more
By Enviro Guy (55), Southampton on Nov 4, 19 8:52 AM
Hats off to Smith, Landes and Gerome and all the great crew who kept this gem afloat since 2009. We hope that you will still play a significant role.
By Liftup88 (9), Southampton on Nov 7, 19 11:06 AM