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Exclusive: Major Shake Up at WPRO-AM

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Multiple sources are telling GoLocalProv that some major changes are coming at WPRO-AM. The on-air line up could be shuffled as soon as two weeks from now. Successful morning man, John DePetro who currently holds down the 6am till 10am slot is said to have a major deal in play that could include a nationally syndicated show down the line. Details of what that national show may be are not being made public yet. And because of that timing opportunity, we hear that a change in the morning show will mean that DePetro moves his show to a new time from 9am till Noon. And it doesn't just affect DePetro.

GoLocal has learned that the staff inside the radio station has been told and also word has started to go out to advertising clients about the upcoming change. DePetro, who was not available for comment, has held the morning job since September 2007 and has been with WPRO for 4-years.

DePetro trying to go National

Sources tell me that DePetro has been wanting to pursue a national level show for some time and there is something in the works and this change now allows him to work freely on that project while not doing his WPRO duties. DePetro has been filling on a much bigger stage than WPRO as of late. He has done several shows at WMAL-AM in Washington, DC. DePetro, a RI native, started his radio career right here in RI at WXIN at Rhode Island College and the moved into sales in New York City before landing his first on-air gig at WHJJ-AM.

Yorke and Cianci Affected

The plan is also to move both Dan Yorke and Buddy Cianci. Yorke, now on the air from 10am till 2pm will be on from to noon till 3pm. This is Yorke’s second time being moved around at WPRO. Recently he was taken off the afternoon shift of 2pm to 6pm when the station put Buddy Cianci in his place as move to bring in higher ratings in the “afternoon drive” time slot. Under the current plan, these moves would then have Cianci going to 3pm to 6pm. So all three talk show hosts would be doing a 3-hour shift and the “new” morning show would be on the air from just 6am till 9am.

You can expect some highly charged radio from DePetro in his new time slot.

Always controversial and engaging, DePetro will also be able to showcase some of the good radio he is no doubt capable of doing. A show filled with content, entertainment and topical discussions that are sure to get people talking. WPRO-AM may be wanting to take a "softer" approach in the early morning and that could one of the forces at work here.

A Risky Move

What isn’t known is how well this new morning show will work. The current one with DePetro is a proven ratings winner and it works. Some people in advertising community tell me this is a risky move. You can debate his style, but, DePetro engages listeners, gets phones to ring and the most important thing for station brass is that he gets people to advertise and spend money! Revenue with DePetro in the morning show time frame is strong and ratings in key demographics that advertisers like to look at before they decide to spend money are very solid.

So who takes over for DePetro?

Channel 6 weekend anchor Andrew Gobeil is said to be one of the lead contenders for the job. Steve Doerr, Vice President & General Manager at Channel 6 tells GoLocal that Gobeil has submitted his notice and will be leaving the station at the end of February. Gobeil, a native of the Cape, is currently weekend anchor and weekday reporter at Channel 6. Doerr says he is not sure what Gobeil will be doing next. If it is Gobeil who gets the gig, he will be joined by a former Channel 6 alum - Tara Granahan. Granahan currently works as the executive producer of the WPRO-AM morning show with DePetro. It is expected that she will now take on a larger on-air role. Gobeil will be fighting low name recognition compared to DePetro. And this new morning show needs to continue it's "hard news" approach during morning drive or it will be a slow death of ratings erosion for sure.

Station management was not available for comment.

Jeff Derderian is a former television news reporter and anchor both in Providence and Boston. He is one of the founders of the Station Education Fund. He can be reached at [email protected]



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