WPRO-AM

Former Providence Mayor Cianci diagnosed with cancer

January 27th, 2014 at 2:56 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci said Monday he has been diagnosed with cancer and the “prognosis is for a full recovery.”

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Tony Mascaro replacing Schwalb as WPRO program director

January 2nd, 2014 at 11:05 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island’s top news-talk radio station will soon be under new leadership.

Cumulus Media Inc. announced Thursday that Craig Schwalb, program director at WPRO-AM 630 and business-talk station WPRV-AM 790 since July 2012, is leaving Rhode Island to become program director at 77 WABC-AM in New York, a news-talk station that’s putting a new emphasis on local content.

The new program director at WPRO and WPRV will be Tony Mascaro, who began his career in Providence and is currently the operations manager at 77 WABC, a job Mascaro has held since June 2012.

Barbara Haynes, general manager of the Cumulus stations in Providence, said Schwalb was already in New York on Thursday, while Mascaro’s first day at WPRO will be on Friday.

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Ron St. Pierre laid off at WPRO-AM

February 14th, 2013 at 10:04 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Dan McGowan

Less than three years after being inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame, Ron St. Pierre has been laid off by WPRO-AM, WPRI.com has learned.

The talk radio veteran confirmed that he and the station parted ways Thursday.

“Their call, not mine,” he told WPRI.com.

St. Pierre has been a behind-the-scenes fixture in local talk radio for more than 30 years, first helping turn WHJJ into a ratings powerhouse and later doing the same with WPRO. In recent years, St. Pierre has co-hosted the Buddy Cianci Show while also publishing an entertaining daily blog on the station’s website. St. Pierre guest hosted Cianci’s show Thursday afternoon.

St. Pierre’s departure follows the station’s decision last month to replace Tara Granahan and Andrew Gobeil with Gene Valicenti on weekday mornings. Granahan is still with the station and now hosts a Saturday afternoon show; Gobeil was laid off.

WPRO program director Craig Schwalb did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Why it will be very hard for Chafee’s opponents to remove him

October 1st, 2011 at 6:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Opponents of Gov. Lincoln Chafee led by WPRO host John DePetro are planning a rally next Wednesday to call for the governor’s removal from office. The last time a WPRO-led push to recall Chafee took place, back in March, I took a look at how Rhode Island law makes that unlikely to happen. Here’s what I wrote then.


Rhode Island is indeed one of the 18 states where recall elections are allowed, but it’s unlikely the radio station’s effort to undo last November’s gubernatorial result will amount to anything – and not just because only two governors have been recalled in all of U.S. history.

Rhode Island’s recall provision was added to the state constitution fairly recently, in 1992, according to Conley and Flanders’ book on the document. But the framers set out pretty limited criteria for what constitutes a recallable offense: basically, a general officer needs to commit a crime or violate the Code of Ethics. And you can’t recall officeholders during the first six months or the last years of their terms.

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Recall Governor Chafee? Not likely under RI law

March 7th, 2011 at 7:00 am by under General Talk

A WPRO-led Facebook campaign is trying to rally support for the recall of Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who took office two months ago, GoLo reported over the weekend. I was asked about the same possibility on Twitter the other day.

Rhode Island is indeed one of the 18 states where recall elections are allowed, but it’s unlikely the radio station’s effort to undo last November’s gubernatorial result will amount to anything – and not just because only two governors have been recalled in all of U.S. history.

Rhode Island’s recall provision was added to the state constitution fairly recently, in 1992, according to Conley and Flanders’ book. But the framers set out pretty limited criteria for what constitutes a recallable offense: basically, a general officer needs to commit a crime or violate the Code of Ethics. And you can’t recall officeholders during the first six months or the last years of their terms.

So Chafee couldn’t be recalled until July at the earliest – and then, again, only if he “has been indicted or informed against for a felony, convicted of a misdemeanor,” or if “a finding of probable cause of violation of the Code of Ethics has been made by the Ethics Commission” against him.

The Code of Ethics “contains a lot, but most of it has to do with financial conflicts of interest,” Common Cause Rhode Island’s John Marion told me – so waffling on casinos or going soft on immigration probably won’t cut it.

Rhode Island’s constitution does contain another option for booting an official outside the usual electoral process: impeachment, a process most famously used against two Supreme Court chief justices, Joseph Bevilacqua in 1986 and his successor Thomas Fay in 1993. (The General Assembly even subpoenaed alleged Mafia boss “Junior” Patriarca to testify against Bevilacqua, who quickly resigned.)

The constitution says the governor or any other general officer can be impeached if he or she is is “found incapacitated or guilty of the commission of a felony or crime of moral turpitude, misfeasance or malfeasance in office.”

Somehow, I don’t see two-thirds of the Rhode Island House voting to impeach Chafee, nor two-thirds of the Senate voting to remove him from office. But now you can impress people at cocktail parties with your newfound knowledge of local constitutional law.

(And thank you to Common Cause for letting me examine its copy of Conley/Flanders’ $165 tome; don’t worry, donors, the frugal Mr. Marion bought it used.)


Granahan, Gobeil to co-host WPRO’s new AM show

February 22nd, 2011 at 2:09 pm by under General Talk

Andrew Gobeil and Tara Granahan

WPRO-AM has tapped its own Tara Granahan and ABC 6 anchor Andrew Gobeil to co-host a revamped “WPRO Morning News” that will play down opinionated talk in favor of straight news coverage, WPRI.com has confirmed.

WPRO’s current daytime hosts will slide to later time slots and shorten their programs by an hour each to make room for the new show, with John DePetro on air from 9 a.m. to noon; Dan Yorke on from noon to 3 p.m.; and Buddy Cianci on from 3 to 6 p.m. Matt Allen will keep his current 6 to 9 p.m. time slot.

The new schedule will debut Monday, March 7, WPRO program director Paul Giammarco told me. The station announced the changes to DePetro’s show last week but only hinted at the rest. A full announcement is expected later today.

Morning drive-time listeners are looking for information like news, weather and traffic more than opinion, and the new “WPRO Morning News” is an effort by the station to provide that, Giammarco said. “We’re going to give them everything they need to start their day,” he said.

Daily commutes in the Providence market are also shorter, at 30 to 35 minutes, than in bigger ones, which affects how long people listen, Giammarco said.

Granahan joined WPRO in 2008 and is currently executive producer of DePetro’s “Morning News,” though she also appears on air. She will be the program’s first female host, Giammarco said. Gobeil is leaving WLNE, which he joined in October 2009.

Granahan and Gobeil told me they’re excited about the new program. The pair first worked together over the holidays when Gobeil was a guest host. (Both are ABC 6 alums, but their tenures there didn’t overlap.)

“We’re going to give everyone exactly what they want in the morning,” Granahan said – straight news and interviews. “And a little personality,” Gobeil added.

All three emphasized that interviews will be a key part of the new “Morning News,” which raised a question – was this done in response to the Chafee administration’s ban on talk radio appearances?

“This change had nothing to do with that at all,” Giammarco said, though he did say he’s mentioned the pending changes to Chafee spokesman Mike Trainor. “This is something we’ve been talking about for quite some time.”

Granahan and Gobeil said they hope to be co-hosts for many years; Gobeil said Barbara Haynes, general manager of WPRO parent Citadel Broadcasting’s Providence division, told him she “wanted somebody who’s going to be here for 10, 15, 20 years.”

“They’re going to carry me out on a slab,” Granahan laughed.

Giammarco also said the three hosts who’s time slots are changing and shrinking – DePetro, Yorke and Cianci – are all “on board” with the changes. “Everybody’s happy with it,” he said. “Everybody’s excited.”

“Really, the morning news show is our foundation for the rest of the day – we make news in the morning and then we talk about it in the afternoon,” Giammarco said. “Right now, our folks all feel good about the three-hour shifts,” he said, because it will allow for “faster-paced programming, less redundancy and less topic fatigue.”

Update: Granahan and Gobeil may not need to wait long before getting Governor Chafee – or at least members of his administration – to appear as guests on their new program.

Chafee “will be relaxing our policy on talk shows once the budget is submitted,” spokesman Mike Trainor told me this afternoon.

The 2011-12 budget is due March 10, so the Chafee administration is “looking to around the middle of March sometime” as a target for the relaxation of its headline-grabbing talk-show boycott, he said.

(photo: Citadel Broadcasting)