With the holiday season coming soon to the East End, residents may feel the need to start listening to some holiday music. While numerous radio stations will be blasting “All I Want For Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock” for the next two months, only one station will be playing it directly out of East Hampton: 104.7 WELJ, led by two relative newcomers to the radio scene. Andrew Adams and Matthew Glaser are 20-year-old college students and longtime friends who co-own the East Hampton-based station. The two have been running WELJ since November 1 of this year after their offer to purchase the station’s license and broadcasting equipment and facilities in both Montauk and East Hampton from Cumulus Media was accepted in June. From then until the start of programming, the duo spent the summer recruiting staff and putting together a new broadcast format.
“In June, we did some market research of the East End to find what people liked and what was missing,” Mr. Adams said. “We thought about how we could fill the void. We want to put something out that Long Island has never heard before.”
“We wanted to build a station that the market would want,” Mr. Glaser agreed. “The Hamptons is a quirky market and very different when compared to Long Island. We wanted stations to have a personality and develop an aura.”
Mr. Adams and Mr. Glaser grew up in Smithtown and have been friends throughout middle school and high school. The duo have been working in event management and sponsorship sales for the past five years. In that time, Mr. Glaser and Mr. Adams have collaborated on various projects, including creating a mobile application providing information for the 2013 Bethpage Air Show and producing the Long Island Summer Festival. On top of that is BOLD Mobile Entertainment Unit, a mobile DJ booth used for events like block parties to provide live entertainment.
With experience in business management and community entertainment, managing a radio station seemed like a natural step forward for the team. “Radio was kind of something we always talked about doing,” Mr. Adams said. “When WELJ came up for sale, we couldn’t pass up the chance.”
“We had a lot of experience with radio as far as the community side of things,” Mr. Glaser said. “My dad was involved with radio, engineering local stations, so media was something I was always involved in.”
Everything from marketing to programming to promotions to engineering is all under the watchful eyes of Mr. Adams and Mr. Glaser. The two credit their staff members for keeping the station running smoothly and hope the group effort not only builds the station’s reputation on the East End, but also propels it into the future and keeps it from becoming stale. Such methods include internet broadcasts of on-air content and launching a mobile application.
While WELJ is currently in the holiday mood, Mr. Glaser and Mr. Andrews plan to launch a new format for the station after Christmas.
“We’d always thought that radio on the East End sounded like the infomercial channel, and it kills radio,” Mr. Glaser said.
“A lot might look at it as outdated, but radio is a constantly involving industry,” Mr. Andrews said. “In 30 years, it will be totally different. We want to be pioneers and we see radio as a never-ending opportunity.”
“We both feel that WELJ will be a part of East Hampton culture and the beginning of the crown jewel of broadcasting,” Mr. Glaser said.