Monday, February 3, 2020


WNET, the PBS flagship station in New York, announced on Friday (1/31) they have acquired WPPB-FM in Southampton, New York, serving eastern Long Island. The purchase price was $944,834.

Soon, WPPB’s will call letters will change to WLIW. This is the first radio station owned by WNET. They also own WLIW-TV, a PBS station serving Long Island. Plus, WNET operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey.

General Manager Dr. Wally Smith will continue to operate the station via a Public Service Operating Agreement (PSOA). Smith’s new title will be “General Manager Emeritus.”

Smith has been manager of the station for over 30 years. When arrived at the station, it was called WLIU and the licensee was Long Island University (LIU). In 2009 LIU decided to sell the station. Smith led an effort to purchase the station and maintain its public radio programming.

Wally Smith
Smith and others established a new nonprofit organization, Peconic Public Broadcasting, to operate the station.

Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of WNET, praised Smith in après release:

“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.”

Smith said in the press release that he is confident that the legacy of WPPB will continue at WLIW:

 “We are proud to have built and maintained WPPB as an important and valuable home for NPR on Eastern Long Island and we could not have done it without the support of our board, staff and supporters who provided guidance all along.”


As of today, one of our favorite stations, KXRN-LP [link], Laguna Beach, is moving to 104.7 FM and is adopting the name “KX FM.”

KX FM calls itself Human Crafted Radio. Professional paid hosts and volunteers play Alt Rock, AAA, Classic Rock and local music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The emphasis is on live music, events and engagement with listeners.

KX FM’s mission is lofty and significant:

We aim to lead the rebirth of FM radio, enriching our listeners with the discovery of alternative music, views, and culture that elevates Laguna Beach on a global scale.

Coverage area for KX FM on 104.7 FM
KXRN has operated at 93.5 FM since 2012. Recently, the FCC received a complaint from KDAY-FM, Los Angeles, who also broadcasts on 93.5 FM. KDAY claimed that KXRN’s signal was interfering its signal. T

The FCC investigated and told KXRN that they needed to move to another spot on the dial. A costly frequency search showed that 104.7 FM was available. As of February 3, 2020, KXRN will be available on104.7 FM.

Tyler Russell, the founder and CEO of KXRN, told All Access Media, that the new 104.7 FM will reach some communities that weren’t reached by 93.5FM:

“This is obviously a big change for us, but it’s been a long time coming. From day one in 2012, we heard complaints from listeners that they couldn’t hear us. We’re happy to have finally found a remedy.”

KXRN received a major vote of confidence in 2018 when the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) qualified it to receive Community Service Grant. In FY 2018, KXRN received $50,620 in support from CPB. Total station revenue that year was around $500.000.

1 comment:

  1. I don't want to speak too much for anyone who's got access to the actual budgetary numbers, but the overall struggle to get public radio to pay for itself out in the Hamptons is well-documented. Noted public radio junkie Alec Baldwin lend his time, money and effort for years to help get and keep WPPB going. IIRC Joy Behar was involved as well.

    But it's always been a tough slog. As I understand it, it's a combination of factors:

    1. The Hamptons is full of ultra-rich people, who generally skew very politically conservative and actively dislike public radio in general.

    2. The income inequality in that region isn't just inequality, it's polarization. So you have some really rich people and a lot of really not-rich people. You don't have that middle- and upper-middle-class folks who are the lifeblood of public radio. The folks who care enough to make that $20/mo donation on the sustainer plan because they listen most mornings on the drive to work at the local bank's mortgage lender's cubicle. (so to speak)

    3. A lot of eastern Long Island, and especially the Hamptons, are a tourist town. Again, so to speak. The people with money who "live" there are people visiting on vacation. Their "home" is somewhere else, usually in the New York City metro. So their "home" public radio station is WNYC, not WPPB. This isn't a universal trait by any means, but it's definitely a factor.

    4. Finally, there's a lot of competition out there. Connecticut Public Radio has a full-power station (WRLI) on eastern Long Island; technically more there for the Connecticut coast but there's nothing stopping Long Island listeners from tuning to it, and CPR (or CPBN) puts out a pretty good "local" news product, even if it's "local" to Hartford. Ditto for WSHU's repeater WSUF, and WSHU is already the "home" public radio outlet for wealthy southwestern Connecticut, which is really part of the NYC metro and where undoubtedly some measurable amount of Hamptons visitors are from.

    Add all these up and it's not surprising that trying to be an independent public radio outlet in eastern Long Island is a damn tough row to hoe. From the outside looking in, partnering with WLIW makes a lot of sense.