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Oct 28, 2008 12:42 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Community radio asks East Enders to participate at new Springs studio

Oct 28, 2008 12:42 PM

The 30-year-old all volunteer-run and commercial-free community radio station, WPKM 88.7 FM, is opening a studio in Springs at the Whalebone Village Community Room, where East End locals will be able to record shows and broadcast live to a growing base of regional listeners, according to volunteer Tony Ernst from Southampton.


he station, which originates as WPKN in Bridgeport, Connecticut, has been broadcasting to the East End via a repeater in Montauk since 2005, extending its reach to East Hampton and Sag Harbor. But the station’s studio remained in Connecticut. Now, intrepid locals who have been making the trip to record in the out of state studio, will be able to produce shows and broadcast live in Springs, Mr. Ernst explained on Tuesday.

The station was founded in 1963 by the University of Bridgeport. It was sold some years later, when the university’s radio station folded, to its own membership. It is run and owned by a board of directors that is elected each year by the members, according to Mr. Ernst.

The local radio volunteer, who also does news for the station, said East End shows have been recorded and aired on WPKM. The station has always covered Long Island news from Bridgeport, but local shows include “East End Ink,” which records readings at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor and other nearby venues every third Thursday at noon, and “Tidings From Hazel Kahan,” an interview and essay show on diverse subjects, airing the fourth Thursday of every month at noon.

Mr. Ernst said “Tidings From Hazel Kahan” has global and sometimes controversial topics—such as Ms. Kahan’s story about a Canadian man helping Palestinian farmers recover trees damaged by Israeli forces. Recalling the station’s catch phrase, “It’s freedom, baby,” he said that—unlike WLIU and all National Public Radio broadcasts—WPKM is not only commercial free, but underwriter free, which allows its guests to say and do whatever they want.

The station raised $80,000 from individual contributors at a recent fund-raiser and Mr. Ernst said that method of paying the bills has worked so far. “We want to maintain the freedom, so it’s difficult,” he said, noting WPKM does not accept foundation grants.

Another local show, “The American Popular Song,” is produced by Southampton resident Mal Dankner, who makes the trip to Bridgeport to broadcast live on alternate Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mr. Dankner works for free and he’ll soon be able to save on gas and travel when the show airs out of the new studio in Springs.

“We’re there, but we haven’t installed our equipment,” Mr. Ernst said of the new studio. He did not pinpoint an exact launch date. He said the station has more than 100 volunteers and pays only a general manager and part-time secretary. “We want to do local origination and get more people involved,” Mr. Ernst added, noting that new volunteers or anyone with ideas for shows can call him with their pitch at (631) 259-2482. To get a full list of programs and hear WPKM, listeners can also visit www.WPKM.org

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WPKN 89.5 and WPKM 88.7 are NOT public radio.

We ARE community radio, 100% listener supported.

you can find us on the web at www.wpkN.org

thanks to the Press for your interest.
By Tony Ernst (11), Southampton on Oct 29, 08 7:29 AM
I'd like to correct the information in my story about "a Canadian manhelping Palestinian farmers recover trees damaged by Israeli forces." Robert Massoud, is the founder of Zatoun, a grassroots organization that helps Palestinian farmers bring their olive oil to North America. Under Israeli occuption the Palestinian farmers and their olive groves are under continuous attack by the Israeli Defense Forces and the illegal Israeli settlers who uproot their trees, confiscate their land and generally ...more
By Hazel Kahan (3), Mattituck, NY on Oct 29, 08 1:36 PM
I should have said www.zatoun.com, not .org


By Hazel Kahan (3), Mattituck, NY on Oct 29, 08 3:05 PM
1. WPKN is 45 years old, not 30.
2. The University of Bridgeport never folded.
3. WPKN has been listener supported for 19 years, not 30.
4. WPKN raised more than $80,000 but has once again failed to meet its fundraising goal.
By jettysoap (4), Fairfield on Oct 30, 08 9:52 AM
Tony, I'll change the online version to reflect "community" radio, rather than "public" radio.

Okay, jettysoap, I will try to address your points, but I reported the facts as they were given to me by Mr. Ernst.

Hazal, I'm not sure what you are correcting? It sounds as though you're just expanding on that part of the story. I'm sorry we could not fit more, but this was meant to be a short story about the new studio in Springs, rather than the content that WPKN airs.

Well, ...more
By Oliver Peterson (19), Southampton Press on Oct 30, 08 10:29 AM
Oliver, the information you reported are not facts. Check with somebody at WPKN.
By jettysoap (4), Fairfield on Oct 30, 08 2:49 PM
Okay, I did see the mistake about the university folding, which IS incorrect. What I believe was originally written was that the university radio station folded. That has been fixed.

If you read carefully, the story notes that the station was founded in 1963, which is 45 years ago. I've adjusted the years of listener support to 19.

We'll reun a correction next week.
By Oliver Peterson (19), Southampton Press on Oct 31, 08 10:35 AM
This is the best radio station I have ever heard...although WOMR comes close.
By TheGoodLife (43), Westhampton Beach on Nov 3, 08 6:56 PM