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Sep 9, 2009 1:05 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Lawmakers champion support for WLIU

Sep 9, 2009 1:05 PM

East End lawmakers rallied with supporters of WLIU, the public radio station based at Stony Brook Southampton, outside the station’s broadcast booths on Wednesday morning, assuring them that every official effort would be made to ensure that the station remains on the air.

At the same time, the more than 20 public officials who turned out for the pep rally dropped not-so-subtle hints for Long Island University leaders that accepting a bid from a locally organized not-for-profit, Peconic Public Broadcasting, led by WLIU’s current general manager, that is hoping buy the university-owned station and keep its programming and staff as is would be the conscientious move for a college that called the East End home for 20 years.

“None of the hurdles is really too high,” State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle said. “I pity the person who gets in the way and tries to screw this up.”

Although the station is based at the campus of Stony Brook Southampton, it is owned by Long Island University, which formerly owned the campus.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said at the rally that he and WLIU station manager Wally Smith met with representatives of the State Education Department on Tuesday and won their assurance that the agency would expedite the application of the non-profit group that has sought to purchase the station. The state must approve the formation of any non-profit that intends to run a public radio station.

Long Island University is auctioning off the station and its broadcasting equipment. As many as six organizations, including the local non-profit, are expected to offer bids. The university is not bound to accept the absolute highest bid, and the station’s supporters hope that the university will turn WLIU over to the community it serves by accepting the local bid.

Porter Bibb, who is heading up the effort to raise money for purchasing the station, said he expects purchasing the station and getting it up and running in a new studio to cost no more than $3 million. He and Mr. Smith have said the station could be self sustaining once that initial investment has been made.

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ABOUT Save Public Radio on the East End (SPREE):
A volunteer committee of concerned citizens united to insure that the eastern end of Long Island (North and South Forks--Patchogue to Orient Point and Montauk--has a free and independent, ...more
By KeriLamparter (1), Montauk on Sep 9, 09 5:24 PM
Every voice counts. Join with all the others who recognize this unique component of our East End as essential for our community character.
By barberosa (39), Watermill on Sep 9, 09 6:40 PM
An East End asset that needs to be saved!
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Sep 10, 09 12:16 AM