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February 26, 2021

Meet Brian Cosgrove

In July 2020, WLIW-FM opened its new studio in Southampton, introducing a dynamic new schedule featuring favorite local programs and newly added NPR and PBS titles. Native Long Islander Brian Cosgrove hosts two of the radio station’s popular programs. “I host The Afternoon Ramble (Monday-Friday, 1-4pm) and The Overnight Ramble (Tuesday-Friday, 2-5am), a one-of-a-kind mix of music that includes many Long Island singer/songwriters and bands. I am also always available to help in any way I can at the radio station and the WNET Group as a whole,” Brian says. Read on to learn about the mentor who inspired Brian’s career in radio, the radio hosts who inspire him today, and more.

Brian Cosgrove in the WLIW-FM studios in Southampton, Long Island

What is your background, and how did you land at WLIW-FM?

My first radio shows were at Nassau Community College and Adelphi University, and my first paid radio job was in 1990 at WDRE 92.7 and 98.5. Both frequencies covered all of Long Island. (92.7 covered Nassau/western Suffolk and parts of N.Y.C., while 98.5 covered the East End.) In 1997, I got a job at WEHM in East Hampton. I did mornings and eventually became the Program Director.

In 2007, I moved over to 88.3 WLIU, an NPR affiliate out of Southampton College, hosting the afternoon music show. I had always wanted to work in public media because of its dedication to content and substance. In 2010, 88.3 became an independent radio station and the call letters changed to WPPB. Then in 2020, we were extremely fortunate to be acquired by the WNET Group and are now WLIW-FM.

What inspired you to pursue a career in radio?

My love of music and the intimate one-on-one connection that I experienced at a very young age listening to radio. I love the accessibility of radio as a medium.

Did you have any mentors when you first started working in radio, and who are the radio hosts you find inspiring today?

In the mid 70s, I discovered WLIR, a radio station here on Long Island, and a D.J. who did the afternoon shift, Ray White. I sent him a fan letter, he graciously replied and invited me up to the radio station, which at the time was located in Hempstead. From there on, I was hooked. Ray went out of his way to encourage me with his experience and advice, and he has never steered me wrong. We’ve since become very close friends, and I will always be indebted to him for his time and sharing his love of radio and music. Ray White went on to WNEW-FM, CD 101.9, stations in San Francisco, and more recently, Colorado Public Radio. He is my favorite radio person on all levels. I also admire Terry Gross from Fresh Air, Kai Ryssdal from Market Place, and many others.

How would you describe the role of WLIW-FM on the East End?

To serve the needs and concerns of the East End of Long Island with news and information listeners can trust, along with programs that inspire and entertain, be it with music, personal growth (The Ted Radio Hour, This American Life, Fresh Air, MetroFocus, etc.) or a few laughs (Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, etc.).

What can listeners look forward to in upcoming editions of The Afternoon Ramble?

I love discovering new music. It’s my passion, and it’s great fun to work in brand new music with the older, more familiar music I play. Also, most days I talk with a local newspaper editor at 2pm for approximately 10 minutes. They share stories from the latest edition of their publications, which keeps our listeners updated locally. At the top of the hour, I have live, five-minute newscasts from NPR. Finally, it’s a great privilege to work with our General Manager Diane Masciale and our consultant Mike Henry, the staff at WLIW-FM (many of whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with now for almost 14 years at 88.3), as well as the entire WNET Group. I’m very fortunate to have access to such great media experience and content.

Where do you live, and what are some of your favorite places in your neighborhood?

Up until about three years ago, I lived for many years in the Springs section of East Hampton. Now I live on the Northfork, which I love. It’s like a cross between upstate New York and Long Island with its many farms and wineries along with some great bay and Long Island Sound beaches.

What’s on your personal music playlist these days?

Kate Bush, Nick Drake, Aimee Mann, and Crowded House along with the latest releases from Fleet Foxes, Waxahatchee, Jason Isbell, Still Corners, and others.

Do you have a special interest or hobby outside of work? If so, tell us about it!

Outside of trying to get some exercise a few times a week, keeping in touch with family and friends, as well as keeping my house in order. Not much, but that works for me. Thanks for asking me to take part in this Q&A.


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