Long Live Peconic Public Broadcasting

THE NUMBERS 88.3 on my car radio were instrumental in my decision to move to the East End of Long Island in 2009. It was a clear day in February, with snow on the ground. I was driving the back roads of East Hampton — the ones with wonderfully evocative names like Two Holes of Water Road and Stephen Hands Path — just to see what was there. I had lived in New York City for many, many years, and was having trouble envisioning myself in the country among cornfields and wild turkeys.

Until I realized that the radio station I was listening to, WLIU, was playing music that was just perfect for the likes of me. It was an NPR affiliate, at the same frequency as my New York City mainstay, WBGO, and it was playing an uplifting mix of blues, jazz, soul. I heard Billie and Solomon Burke and Ella and Louis… listened for a while, and thought, YES. I can live here. This is a good place to live. I will be all right.

And so I was. Unfortunately, the station is not. A miracle is the form of a couple hundred thousand dollars is needed by the end of this month to keep the station from folding. Last fall, the license for 88.3FM was purchased from Long Island University for $2million by an independent group. It became known as Peconic Public Broadcasting and continued to play the same great music. Partial payment was made; a final payment is due August 31, a deadline that can be extended no more. Read more details here.

Last spring, when Peconic Public Broadcasting moved from the campus of Southampton University to smaller quarters in the village of Southampton, I volunteered a few hours to help them pack up. I met some of the DJs whose voices and choices I’ve so enjoyed. Smooth Brian Cosgrove of “Afternoon Ramble” (thank you, Brian, for playing Van Morrison on a daily basis, and turning me on to Betty LaVette, as well as older stuff I had somehow missed, like Keith Richards’ “Make No Mistake”). Eddie German, of the evening “Urban Jazz Experience” and ready-made dance party “Friday Night Soul,” who seems to specialize in digging up underplayed, esoteric cuts. Relentlessly cheerful Bonnie Grice, whose “Eclectic Cafe” and “The Song is You” accompany me on my morning errands and who introduced me to jazz violinist Regina Carter and many others now on my iPod.

If you want to offer some 11th hour help, this Wednesday night, August 25, is “Locals Live,” a benefit concert at Old Whaler’s Church in Sag Harbor featuring East End bands and artists, including Nancy Atlas, house band at the fabled Stephen Talkhouse music venue in Amagansett. Admission is $25. Or just call 631 591 7003 and pledge, or do it here.

The voice of 88.3 FM
will be silenced
on August 31, 2010
if you don’t act now!
CALL (631) 591-7003
to find out how you can play a significant role in the
future of the station.

We mustn’t let the music die!