2012 is coming to a close, so it’s time to take a look back and reflect on the year.
Several events, highlights and changes have taken place in the Providence-Pawtucket-Warwick radio marketplace in 2012, so 2013 should be no less of an exciting and interesting year, bringing a host of new shifts, developments, and headlines.
So, without further ado, here is your 2012 Providence Radio recap:
15. After over 30 years in the Providence marketplace, working with iconic brands such as “92 Pro FM” (CHR WPRO-FM) and co-owned “Lite Rock 105” (AC WWLI), Cumulus Media operations manager Tony Bristol exited the post earlier this month. His longtime radio career includes work under Citadel, prior to its acquisition by Cumulus, as well as stops at CHR WKCI-FM/New Haven CT, Hot AC WDAQ/Danbury, CT and WTIC-FM/Hartford where he served as Program Director and Music Director respectively.
14. At around the same time, Hall Communications "Cat 98.1 Country" (Country WCTK) Music Director and morning co-host Jessica Tyler exited after 5 years at the station where she signed on as midday personality in June 2007. Her gig prior to coming to Providence included MD/morning co-host duties at Clear Channel Country WPKX/Springfield, MA.
13. Back to Cumulus Media, with the promotion of Davey Morris, who was upped earlier in the year to Cumulus Corporate Program Director. Well deserved considering his longtime duties at Cumulus Top 40/Rhythmic and Top 40 sister stations "Hot 106" (WWKX) where he served as PD and "92 Pro-FM" (WPRO) where he covered the PM-Drive.
12. With the booming Latino community in Providence, lead by Harvard graduate and Dominican-American Mayor Angel Taveras, it was only right that Latina 100.3 (WKKB) Program Director Ouilvio Perdomo brought yet another amazing voice to Providence - tapping Luis Jimenez to mornings. ‘The Luis Jimenez Show’ is a hit morning show syndicated by Envision Radio Networks and is a nice addition to Latin radio programming in Rhode Island.
11. In sports radio, Entercom upped WVEI-A/Worchester and WWEI-F/Springfield, MA Station Manager David Oldread to Director of Sales and Operations. Additionally, the company expanded Oldread’s sales and operational responsibilities to WVEI-F/ Providence.
10. There is no doubt that Rhode Island was a hotly contested political terrain this past campaign season. With that being said, Cumulus Talk WPRO-A-WEAN (News Talk 630 WPRO AND 99.7 FM) hosted two live Congressional primary debates between businessman Anthony Gemma and 1st congressional district, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline moderated by News Director Bill Haberman. Gemma’s attempt to unseat incumbent Democrat Cicilline in the September 11th primary was nonetheless unsuccessful.
9. Also in September, PROVIDENCE dropped in market ranking from 42 to 43 according to ARBITRON’s FALL ratings period.
8. In August, Cumulus Talk WPRO-A-WEAN/Providence 24-year old content producer Diana "Dee" DeQuattro ignited controversy by suing the station’s management and morning talk-show host John DePetro, alleging that he made unwanted sexual advances toward her. DePetro later denied the allegations and his lawyer, Timothy Dodd maintained his innocence stating that his client was not involved in any misconduct.
7. On a more positive note, Cumulus Talk WPRO-A-WEAN (News Talk 630 WPRO and 99.7 FM), more specifically the Matt Allen Show, held a roundtable on July 30th to discuss the Colorado Theater shooting and how a similar situation would be handled if it took place in Rhode Island. The talk entitled, "Preventing Tragedy” featured Rhode Island Superintendent Col. Steven O'Donnell, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, and Tom Martin, the adminstaror of clinical service at the Rhode Island Dept. of Behavioral Health Care, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals.
6. Two weeks earlier, Cumulus Talk WPRO-A-WEAN-F named Craig Schwalb as its new Program Director succeeding WPRO Honcho Paul Giammarco who left the position in June. Prior to his resignation, Gimmarco, had been PD since 2005 and logged more than 30-years in the business. He is credited with making WPRO the only FM news Talk station in the Providence market with the FM simulcast of WPRO-AM to 99.7 FM. His replacement, Schwalb took the seat having prior experience working as the Sr. Dir./Talk Programming for Sirius XM Satellite Radio and time spent in marketplaces such as Detriot, New York, Raleigh and St. Louis.
5. Another exit from Cumulus, with "Lite Rock 105"(AC WWLI) Assistant Program Director/Music Director and Production & Imaging Coordinator Mike Rovin deciding to relocate to Portland, Maine to assume PD duties at AC WHOM and Top 40 Q 97.9 (WJBQ) back in July.
With the wide array of controversial news and job shifts, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the excellent ways in which Providence radio stations leveraged their power to promote more and better philanthropy in 2012. Using the word “excellent” is perhaps an understatement in fact. Two philanthropic efforts stand out in particular:
4. The first is that of Hall Communications. A media partner for four years, Hall Communications owned Cat Country 98.1 (Country WCTK) raised over $50,000 in its efforts for the American Heart Association of Southern New England in 2012 primarily through the Cat Country Snowball – a listener appreciation, VIP Meet and Greet, and silent auction event featuring some of the biggest names in country music including Gretchen Wilson, Casey James, Street Magnolia, and Joe Nichols.
3. On a side note, more love was spread on Cat Country 98.1’s (Country WCTK) airwaves when morning show co-host Brian Phillips made a heartfelt proposal to his longtime girlfriend Carla live on the air. Check out the video here.
2. Finally, on April 12-13 Cumulus Media held their eighth annual Hasbro Children’s Hospital Radio-thon, leveraging the celebrity of radio/television personalities, and even New England Patriots players on on-air and online platforms to encourage callers and online visitors to support Hasbro Children’s Hospital. In addition to raising incredible awareness of the hospital’s patients, pediatric medical professionals and services, Cumulus Media radio stations raised a whopping $611,312!
1. Apologies upfront if I missed any important headlines that may have been worthy of mentioning. Please feel free to leave those in the comment below. Nevertheless, 2012 was nothing short of being a momentous year in the Providence radio market. In sum, whether for good or for bad, several changes and events took place that made 2012 yet another fun-filled and unforgettable year. I hope Providence listeners and those in the radio industry alike look forward to 2013 and the changes the New Year may have in store!