Wednesday, March 20, 2019


Bonnie Grice
Listeners on both coasts are familiar with the voice of Bonnie Grice. 

At the end of March, Grace will retire her radio chops for a while and concentrate on Boots On the Ground, a theater company she founded in 2016. 

Boots stages stories of historical significance.

For the past two decades Grice has been a host, producer and a community convener on WPPB 88.3 FM in Southampton, New York. 

Southampton is located on the eastern tip of Long Island, roughly 80 miles from Manhattan.

Grice said she isn’t done with radio but needs a break for a while. 

Grice joined WPBX, which became WPPB in 1998.  

Grice told her radio story in a first-person narrative in the WPPB website [link]:

Grice: “Radio has been my life most of my adult life. I fell into it. I grew up on Lake Erie in Pennsylvania but I went to school in Ohio. I began volunteering at my college radio station as a news writer for the Noon Report”.

Grice in the 1970s
“My first on-air appearance was reading ‘The Agriculture Report.’ Next thing I knew I was farmed out to interview the Pork Queen at the County Fair. An inauspicious beginning perhaps, but I was thrilled with every farm fresh moment holding that microphone. Besides, it didn’t take me long to find my place beyond the barrows and gilts…”

Grice moved to her first paying job at KOPN, near Columbia, Missouri. At KOPN, she had her first touch of fame:

Grice: “I found a tape recorder and my voice at the same time, covering stories ranging from nuclear power to women’s issues. My first in studio music interview was guitarist Leo Kottke, a 6 and 12-string powerhouse who described his singing voice as “geese farts on a muggy day.” He was quick, fun, talented and kinda cute.”

While I was working at KOPN, my roommate, Kyle Warren Cook, did a show called ‘Mystery Science Radio 3000’ late on Saturday nights. I’d stop in after we closed down the ‘Blue Fugue’ bar where I helped manage, tend bar, do security and serve as hookah operations director.”

Grice on-air at WPPB
That job led to reporting stints for several newspapers and magazines. T

hen Grice landed a gig at KUSC in Los Angeles, specializing in coverage of arts and Classical music scenes.   

At KUSC she met Wally Smith, then the GM of KUSC.  Smith would have a major impact on her life and work.

Grice worked as program host and arts reporter at NPR in Washington. She moved to Southampton in 1998, where Smith had become GM of then WPBX.

At the time, WPBX was licensed to Long Island University.  When the school was sold to Stony Brook University in 2010, Smith and Grice re-established the station as Peconic Public Broadcasting – WPPB – a small community station with big market competitors.

At WPPB, Grice created shows that featured local music and the arts scene, particularly live theater news. She did the morning shift which she describes as a “sonic gumbo” of music, interviews and eastern Long Island news. She hosted and produced ‘The Eclectic Café,’ ‘Media Mavens’ and a nationally syndicated show ‘The Song is You’ where featured guests share their 10 favorite tunes.

Grice, who is a two-time Gracie Allen Award winner, told local online news service [link];

Grice: “This has been such a ride. I love the East End and have so enjoyed the honor and pleasure representing NPR for Long Island on WPPB. I thank Wally Smith and the staff for their ongoing support and our wonderful loyal listeners! I look forward to further adventures down the road, on and off the air. In the meantime: Stay tuned!”

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