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WLIU settles into new Southampton digs

Stacks of brown shipping cartons fill five offices at WLIU-FM's new home on Hill Street in Southampton Village, stuffed with items like CDs, posters and office supplies.

The Internet is up, but the phone lines have not yet been installed. And the microphones for a live broadcasting studio - sans soundproofed walls or even a pane of glass between the announcer and an engineer - will be in operation by next week, possibly.

General manager Wallace Smith says the former campus radio station at Southampton College is back in business after a brief time off the air.

Now, the national programming goes from National Public Radio directly to the station's transmitter, a completely automatic process. That cuts out local programming, but Smith hopes that will be back online in a week or two.

The view through the small ground-floor office windows is far less striking than that at the old studio, where a long, curved glass wall gave a panoramic view of the SUNY Southampton campus and a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. Long Island University - which still owns the license for the station - sold the campus to the State University of New York, which needed the space for the campus writers program.

The radio station moved out at the end of last week. And, Smith says, it has turned into an adventure.

Smith says the staff is excited by the change, which he hopes will lead to more local programming and interaction with town residents. "It was hard for anyone to come to the campus," Smith said. "It's kind of out of the way."

The new offices at 71 Hill St., behind a movie theater, are a short walk from the heart of the village business district. "They can see the broadcast," Smith said.

Because the station had to leave its space by the end of the month, it was important for them to find a new home quickly. The station signed a one-year lease for the current location, and it can be extended by a year four more times.

WLIU, which owns the license for the station, is selling it to Peconic Public Broadcasting, a not-for-profit group formed to buy the license and operate the station. The call letters date back to when Long Island University owned and operated the Southampton College campus.

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