Peconic Public Broadcasting, WPPB, at 88.3 on the FM dial, is now owned by WNET, the Manhattan-based owners of the PBS television stations Thirteen and WLIW21, becoming WNET’s first radio station.

WNET announced Jan. 31 that the $944,834 transfer of ownership had closed, after three months of review by the Federal Communications Commission.

The purchase, which was approved by the FCC and the New York State Attorney General’s office, will make WLIW a dual licensee, operating both a PBS television station and NPR radio station.

WPPB General Manager Dr. Wally Smith will become General Manager Emeritus of the station, which will change its call letters to WLIW-FM in the coming months.

 “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. “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.”

“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 & 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.”

“We are proud to have built and maintained WPPB as an important and valuable home for NPR on Eastern Long Island,” said Wally Smith, General Manager of WPPB, “and we could not have done it without the support of our board, staff and supporters who provided guidance all along. The station’s 40-year legacy of excellent programming and community service will live on and thrive with WNET and WLIW21.”

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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