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)