Earlier this summer, The WNET Group officially launched the new 88.3 WLIW-FM. Long Island’s sole NPR station, formerly WPPB-FM, still features the local favorites it’s known for, as well as some exciting national programming.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Diane Masciale, WLIW-FM/WLIW21 Vice President & General Manager, about the station’s dynamic schedule.
Why was The WNET Group interested in bringing the Southampton-based radio station, which is Long Island’s only National Public Radio station, into the fold?
DM: With the acquisition of WPPB, The WNET Group is bringing together the only local NPR station and the only PBS station on Long Island. We see the marriage of WLIW-FM and WLIW21 as an important step in securing the future of public broadcasting for the Long Island community. We are grateful to General Manager Emeritus Dr. Wally Smith, the staff and the board who helped build the station into a beacon for the community on which WLIW-FM will build upon as we move into the future. As a public media enterprise, major areas of focus include news and public affairs, arts and culture and education. Now that public media on Long Island is truly, multi-platform, we have a new entry point to create deeper connections in the community through the quality programming, conversations and engagement for which WLIW and public media are known. Being a dual licensee benefits stations and their communities with better programming, stronger fundraising and deeper community connections.
Tell us a little bit about the new 88.3 WLIW-FM.
DM: A few weeks ago, we moved into brand new offices and studios in downtown Southampton. Our new state of the art studio is street facing and visible to the community right next to the movie theater on Hill Street. We hope listeners in the area will walk by and take a look at WLIW-FM in action. One of our studios has a small performance space that we hope to put to good use in the future once we are able given safety issues posed by the pandemic.
In mid-June, we formally changed the call letters to WLIW-FM and integrated the radio and broadcast websites under wliw.org, where you can find WLIW-FM (wliw.org/radio) and WLIW21 along with information about our educational programming, membership and audience support. At the same time, we also introduced a dynamic new schedule featuring our local hosts and programs and introducing popular national offerings.
Local favorites will remain and WLIW-FM will also add popular national radio titles. Could you please discuss programming and are there any plans for new programming?
DM: On June 15th, WLIW-FM inaugurated a new program schedule focused on our commitment to community radio with our local hosts and programs front and center. You’ll still hear Morning Edition Long Island Local News with Michael Mackey, Heart of the East End with Gianna Volpe, The Afternoon Ramble with Brian Cosgrove, The Urban Jazz Experience and Friday Night Soul with Ed German, Broadway to Main Street, and many other local programs. But in addition, we have enhanced the listener experience by adding national public media favorites like All Things Considered, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! , The Moth, This American Life, The Takeaway, The Daily and many other well-liked public radio programs. Now WLIW-FM listeners can tune in for their local programs and stay with the station for the top national programs as well, all on 88.3 WLIW-FM, Long Island’s only NPR station. Within days of the March acquisition, we added MetroFocus, WLIW’s news and public affairs interview program, to the WLIW-FM line up to expand local coverage of important issues across Long Island. We also are in discussion about bringing new local personalities and programs to WLIW-FM to expand our East End focused news and entertainment programming in the near future. Stay tuned!
Will there be any special programming for the summer season?
DM: I like to think that our programming is special every day, especially our local programming that features smart, in-depth conversation, news and entertainment about the East End daily. During the pandemic, we are working with our current programming schedule to bring summer on the East End to our listeners. But we are excited about expanding programming in the future as WLIW-FM deepens its connections throughout the community.
WLIW-FM is now available for those that reside on Long Island and beyond to stream. Why was it important to offer this option?
DM: We live in a multi-platform world and it is critical that we bring our programming to the audience, where they listen, how they listen. One of those ways is through streaming, on our website (wliw.org/radio), on apps like NPR One, on smart speakers, on social media, allowing our audience to listen anywhere at any time, not just on Long Island but across the country as well. It is critical for listener supported radio to meet audiences where they are in order to engage at the most personal level possible.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
DM: I have spent most of my life on Long Island, grew up spending summers on the East End with my grandparents, raised my family here and live about 10 minutes from my childhood home where my mom still resides. Long Island is home in every sense of the word. I am proud to be leading Long Island’s local public media and am intensely committed to our communities.
For more information about 88.3 WLIW-FM, Long Island’s sole NPR station, visit wliw.org/radio.