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Celebs Rally to Help WLIU Stay Local and On the Air

Save Public Radio on the East End (SPREE) Campaign

Save Public Radio on the East End (SPREE) Campaign

As Paul Riismandel reported in August, Long Island University-owned public radio station WLIU is about to lose funding from its institution and is entertaining offers to purchase the station.

Yesterday was the deadline for bids and a star-studded group of “friends” held rallies and pulled together an offer to save the station from extinction or a takeover by religious broadcasters. No word yet on the dollar amount of the offer and if it was accepted, but there should be news very soon. According to an article in the Sag Harbor Express:

“In an interview yesterday, [Station Director Wally] Smith said the non-profit group Peconic Public Broadcasting, Inc., was to make a ‘fair and full value bid that is about twice what we believe to be fair market value.’

Porter Bibb, a media consultant who has spearheaded the effort to create PPB, Inc. and its fundraising arm, Save Public Radio on the East End (SPREE), said two weeks ago that consultants have estimated the fair market value for the license and equipment to be about $1 million. It is estimated the cost of acquiring the station and its assets, as well as moving it to a new location — likely Wainscott Studios — would cost about $3 million.

At Thursday’s rally, Smith said he did not know how many other suitors there were for the station, which would need to be sold to an organization which would run it as a non-profit, but said he and others were prepared to establish a new operating company within eight weeks to take the station over. Yesterday, he said he knew WNYC was ‘very interested’ in the station, as well as several religious organizations.”

According to the Peconic Public Broadcasting website, “Save Public Radio on the East End” is:

“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, non-commercial NPR voice with local management, broadcast personnel and, most importantly, a strong commitment to local history, culture, politics, business, and the arts.”

Among this group of “friends” helping to save the station are stars like Alec Baldwin, Jann Wenner, Suzanne Vega and Joy Behar and their efforts have been characterized as the Long Island community pulling together to save the station. I wish them luck.

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