The small national public radio station that could in Southampton is on its way to becoming part of a large metropolitan public broadcasting company.
Peconic Public Broadcasting, WPPB, at 88.3 on the FM dial, is under contract to be sold to WNET, the Manhattan-based owners of PBS Thirteen and WLIW21 television stations.
The stations reached an asset purchase agreement for $ 944,834 on Oct. 17, and WNET was scheduled to begin participating in the station’s operation at noon on Nov. 1, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The sale must be approved by the FCC, and the transfer of the radio station’s assets to WNET must be approved by the New York State Attorney General’s office before the companies complete the transaction.
WPPB executives were unable to comment on the sale during the regulatory review, and they directed questions to Kellie Specter, WNET’s director of marketing and engagement, who said the FCC processes and the attorney general are expected to take 60 to 90 days, and they are occurring simultaneously.
âWNET began operating this station on November 1. Until regulatory approvals are granted, PPB remains the operator,â Ms. Specter said.
She added that no decision has yet been made on whether the station will change its call letters or other aspects of WPPB’s operations.
The Asset Purchase Agreement states that WNET âshall not, directly or indirectly, control, supervise or direct the operations of the Station prior to the Closure. These operations, including the complete control and supervision of all programs, employees and policies, are the sole responsibility of Seller. “
Peconic Public Broadcasting has long been proud to be Long Island’s only national public radio station – a designation that comes with the high cost of NPR programming.
It also has its own eclectic mix of programming, with DJs Ed German and Brian Cosgrove spinning jazz, soul and American music, and a morning show, “The Heart of the East End” with Gianna Volpe, which interspersed with local news and guests with a varied playlist.
Ms. Volpe’s show began earlier this year, in the same time slot as longtime host Bonnie Grice’s Eclectic CafÃ©. Ms. Grice left the station this spring and has since affiliated with the WLNG station in Sag Harbor.
According to public financial records, WPPB recorded an operating loss of $ 233,924 in 2018, down from a loss of $ 161,111 in 2017. The station had – $ 247,082 in net assets at the end of 2018, versus – $ 33,481 in net assets at end. from 2017.
In contrast, WNET, which calls itself “America’s flagship PBS station,” generated more than $ 153 million in revenue and $ 116.5 million in expenses in 2017, with total net assets of 290, $ 6 million, according to public financial statements.
The station now known as WPPB began life as a college club on the Southampton campus of Long Island University, first as WSCR and then as WPBX in 1980, period during which it was a mix of underground programming students, functioning as a ‘carrier current station’, a type of mainstream college station that does not require an FCC license.
In 2002, the station changed its call letters to WLIU and began broadcasting mostly jazz shows, and it operated from a studio on the second floor of Chancellor’s Hall on the LIU campus.
After the closure of LIU-Southampton and the transfer of its ownership to Stony Brook University, employees at the station launched a large community effort to turn it into an NPR community station, which changed its name to Peconic Public Broadcasting and moved off campus to its current location. on Hill Street in Southampton Village.
WNET owns three public television stations – Channel 13, WLIW21 and NJTV in New Jersey, which “brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week,” according to its website. WPPB would be his first radio.