Peconic Broadcasting still in hunt for WLIU

Long Island University has granted Peconic Public Broadcasting Inc., the group that currently runs Long Island’s only National Public Radio affiliate, a three-day extension on the Aug. 31 deadline to make the final $637,000 payment on the station.

The group now has until Friday at 5 p.m. to make the payment.

Peconic Public Broadcasting officials said that while they are still short of raising the full amount, significant progress has been made in securing the money. A statement issued by the group said the George Soros’ Open Society Institute has made a $50,000 challenge grant in support of the campaign. The grant must be matched by other contributions.

The group also said a local bank, which they did not name, has agreed to issue a loan to fund the difference.

“The board and staff are optimistic that Peconic Public Broadcasting now has the momentum to successfully complete the purchase,” the statement reads.

LIU released its own statement Tuesday saying that if the group cannot meet the deadline, the university will offer 88.3 FM’s license and equipment to “several other public radio organizations that have expressed an interest in acquiring WLIU.”

LIU officials said Wednesday that Peconic Public Broadcasting assured them they would have the money by the end of the week.

“They had given us some indication over the past week or so that was encouraging … of their ability to get a bank loan,” said Robert Altholz, the university’s vice president of finance.

He said there will not be another deadline extension after Friday.

Peconic Public Broadcasting, which was formed last year, beat out two other suitors and signed a $2.4 million deal in October to purchase the station from LIU. At that time, the group signed a letter of intent with the university to purchase the station for about $850,000 in cash, with the rest coming in services.

The group, headed by current staffers at the Southampton-based public radio station, has been operating under the call letters WPPB since then.

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