WELJ, known as the “East End’s holiday station” for its continuous Christmas music, has been purchased by two 20-year-old college students who hope to become “pioneers” in programming for the area.
The new owners of the East Hampton-based station — at 104.7 FM on the dial — are Smithtown residents Matthew Glaser and Andrew Adams, and on Monday they are expected to announce a new format for the station.
“It’s going to be much more than just radio,” Glaser said of the new WELJ. “We have great, seasoned broadcasters bringing years of experience.”
The two say they have no technical experience in the industry and have only visited the East End on occasion, but they come from families with radio experience so they know what the medium is missing when it comes to the Hamptons.
After the purchase on Nov. 1, the pair immediately moved away from a country music format to traditional holiday favorites while they prepare for the soon-to-be-unveiled programming.
Glaser said the station will be “interactive” with the East End’s communities, in part by having WELJ’s mobile station become a regular sight at local events and by making it “less commercialized.”
Glaser said he sees a small-town quality in the area that others might not, and he wants the station to reflect that and have a very personal connection to its audience.
“I think the East End has the character of a Main Street U.S.A,” Glaser said. “You do have the rich and powerful playing out in the Hamptons during the summer, but our station will be for everybody.”
The two childhood friends purchased the East Hampton station as Bold Broadcasting LLC from Cumulus Media for an amount they declined to disclose. The sale includes the station license, broadcasting equipment and facilities in Montauk and East Hampton.
Adams said there are currently nearly a dozen staff members, including what Glaser characterized as “seasoned broadcasters,” working at the station.
Asked why someone in his 20s would want to buy a radio station — something that might be considered old school in the age of new media — Adams said: “Since 15, I’ve wanted to become involved in the cultural aspect of Long Island through media and community events, and recent studies have shown the 18-24 [radio] demographic has improved in the last decade.”
The pair’s purchase of the station is remarkable, one of Glaser’s business professors at Stony Brook University said.
“I think it’s definitely very extraordinary to start any business at 20 years old,” said Jiyin Cao, an assistant professor of management in the College of Business.
Glaser is a senior at Stony Brook majoring in political science with a minor in business entrepreneurship, and Adams is a marketing major who graduates from SUNY Plattsburgh in May.
Glaser’s father and one of Adams’ uncles have backgrounds as radio engineers, and Glaser said he and his partner want their radio station to be only the first step in what they hope will be a media empire someday.
For the past five years, the two have worked in event management and sponsorship sales. Among their projects was creating a mobile application to provide information for the 2013 Bethpage Air Show and producing the Long Island Summer Festival.