It’s been nearly 100 days since I became “the new Bonnie Grice,” with big shoes to fill, at Long Island’s only local NPR station, 88.3 WPPB FM, and while I wondered, at first, if my pair of green cowboy boots — a bargain steal from an antique shop that once lived inside Alice’s Greenport Ice House — were of a suitable size, I’ve come to know my potential as intimately as the creases inside of my crinkled kickers.
I’ve been growing up pretty quickly before the ears of 88.3 FM’s morning audience. Mastering the art of producing magical morning radio is occurring in advances as exponential as my movement from a one-hour weekly time slot to a meaty 15 glorious hours — 9 to noon on weekdays — of disc jockey development and education. I have found myself diving so naturally into the ocean of NPR airwaves, it feels as though I were sired by a siren and borne from Beluga.
That’s been my story since first stepping foot on the East End roughly 3000 days ago: A deep-dive into any nook and cranny this place has allowed me, while making connections with so many Twin Forks characters it has baffled more than a few local friends. “How do you know all of these people?” I’ve been asked. “I’ve lived here my entire life and I don’t know half the people that you do out here.”
In many ways, being an outsider — and a workaholic of a gypsy journalist — has provided me some advantage in the arena of accumulating associates. I’ve not just been an endlessly curious, constantly moving addition to the area; I arrived without a bank account and support system suitable enough to stay without some serious socializing and a nonstop work schedule.
This near-decade of dual-forked rambling has been an all-over act, with wrong turns and rough breaks included, that has been re-written as many times as some of these sentences, but it’s been evolving from Morning One at 88.3 WPPB — March 26, 2019 — as I find satisfaction in focusing on doing best and most efficiently what I most love: informing, entertaining, and promoting this area we call the East End.
This column will aim to crystallize that journey as a treasure chest collection of the true jewels that every person that I have interviewed in “Peconic County” — not to mention every place visited and event experienced — have thus far proven to be from artistic, political, and educational institutions; private homes and public parks; farm and other lands to rivers, bays, Sound, seas, and even skies.
This includes our journalists, who continue to visit the WPPB studio in Southampton Village every Friday morning at 9 for Media Mavens, which replays on-air at noon on Saturday afternoons. Joe Shaw, Gavin and Georgie Menu, Bridget LeRoy, Eric Feil, Annette Hinkle, Brendan O’ Reilly, Tim Gannon, Karl Grossman, Beth Young, Oliver Peterson, Angela LaGreca, Rolonda Watts, Joe Werkmeister, Bob Liepa, and Hannah Selinger, are just a handful of guests on the first 100 days of the re-booted Mavens.
Musicians like Gene Casey, Joe Lauro, Caroline Doctorow, Klyph Black, Michael LeClerc, Bosco Michne, James Lawler, Julia King, Tom Wardle, Adam Baranello, Joe Delia, Michael Rusinsky, Eric Tonyes, Mick Hargreaves, Paolo Bartolini, and Rorie Kelly, not to mention performers Maria Bacardi, Jill Eikenberry, and Walker Vreeland have also been featured within Heart of the East End’s first 100 days with an interview scheduled, at press time, for The Montauk Project.
Special thanks to the other countless guests I’ve had thus far including Paton Miller, Tom Dunn, Amy Kirwin, Gail Baranello, Terry Bienstock, Allan Zola Kronzek, Andrea Grover, Josh Gladstone, Kim Covell, Steven Long, Minerva Perez, Ira Haspel, Cindy Pease Roe, Susie Roden, Jim Brady, Andrew Botsford, Debra McEneaney, Anthony Madonna, Allison Katz, Allison Fasano, Mark Torres, Diane Tucci, Jay Schneiderman, Scarlett Magda, Alex Ferrone, Madison Fender, Elizabeth Sweigart, Ginew Barton, Estefany Molina, Bryan Downey, and many more.
While this only scratches the surface of talent on our Twin Forks, HEE has only just begun, so I’ll be kind to myself while continuing to encourage kindness toward all.