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Loss of DePetro and Cianci Crushes WPRO AM’s Ratings

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

 

John DePetro

The loss of two radio heavyweights from WPRO AM's lineup is hitting the station hard. Nielsen rating numbers for the most recently reported month reflect how the loss of John DePetro's show has had significant impact on the talk station.

Falling ratings for AM talk stations are not unique to Providence, as last week the top talk talent in Worcester was let go. WCRN's Hank Stolz was replaced by the audio feed of the Fox News TV affiliate from Boston. 

According to sources, the most recent, post-DePetro ratings may be the lowest for the station in modern history. WPRO also made some layoffs last week including one top executive producer. 

In 2016, WPRO also lost former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci -- he died of complications related to his long-time illness.

Ratings Dip

The data released on Tuesday shows that WPRO AM’s ratings fell to a 3.4 for the period ending December 16. The previous month the WPRO ratings were 5.0.

DePetro was off the air for all of the most recent rating period. He announced he was leaving the station on Christmas Eve. Last week, DePetro announced he was starting a show on 1,000 Watt WADK in Newport.

“I proudly announce I return to the Rhode Island airwaves starting Wednesday, January 25, 2017, taking your phone calls weekdays live from 1:00-5:00 p.m. on 1540 AM WADK. Together, we will make Rhode Island afternoon radio great again. The John DePetro Show will be broadcasting from the right side of the issues, on the right side of the dial at 1540 AM," he announced.

Ranked behind WPRO in the talk category in RI are:

Boston-based WGBH at 1.8 rating

920 WHJJ at a 0.8 rating

Local RI National Public Radio 0.5 rating 

790 WPRV at 0.4 rating

Despite the loss of audience, WPRO AM still has higher ratings than the four talk competitors combined.

DePetro refused comment for this story.

 

Related Slideshow: Infamous Talk Radio Controversies

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Arbitron Ratings Scandal

In 2008, radio host John DePetro found himself in the midst of a ratings controversy.  The Boston Herald reported,

The briefly stellar ratings of controversy-dogged-talkmeister John DePetro’s Providence radio show tanked yesterday after a whiff of scandal forced Arbitron to reissue its spring survey of listener-dial habits.

In the 6 to 10 a.m. weekday slot occupied by the self-proclaimed “Independent Man” on WPRO-AM (630), “the reissue ranked WPRO at number nine” among valued 25- to 54-year-old listeners, “down from the number four rank in the original release,” program manager Paul Giammarco and station market manager Barbara Haynes announced in a joint statement.

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Candidate Name-Calling

DePetro was fired from Boston radio station WRKO in 2006 for calling then-gubernatorial Rainbow Party candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian." 

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Office Scuffle

The Providence Journal's Mike Stanton reported on an altercation in 2009 between DePetro and radio host Ron St. Pierre.

DePetro said he was hit -- and scratched -- in the eye with a balled up paper with a staple thrown at him by St. Pierre.  

Prev Next

Buddy's Return - to Radio

 

After five years in prison for racketeering conspiracy from 2002 to 2007, former Mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci returned to the public eye with a radio show on WPRO.  

While controversial, Cianci's continued popularity has people wondering if Buddy might just make another run for Mayor in 2014.  

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Chafee's Talk Radio Ban

Upon taking office in 2011, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee announced that he would not appear on talk radio shows and barred state employees in agencies and departments that report to him from doing the same during work hours.  

Governor Chafee is among the elected officials who have signed the "For Our Daughters" pledge.  

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Dennis and Callahan

WEEI sports radio hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan were suspended in 2003 when they referred to an escaped gorilla as a "Metco gorilla" waiting for a bus to Lexington -- with Metco being bus program that buses inner-city students to suburban schools.

Boston's http://www.wcvb.com/Radio-Station-Gorilla-Remarks-Spur-Advertiser-Concerns/-/9849586/11281756/-/5lg3o9z/-/index.html#ixzz2nbPAwzd2" target="_blank">WCVB reported that advertisers Dunkin' Donuts and Blue Cross pulled back station support in light of the incident.  

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Severin Suspended

WTKK's Jay Severin was fired for making comments about sleeping with female employees over the years.  

Radio Ink reported on Greater Media's reaction to the incident.  

"Greater Media today ended its relationship with Jay Severin. Our company has always encouraged a free and open dialogue on a variety of issues and topics, and we will continue to be guided by that principle. But we also demand that our on-air talent maintain an appropriate level of civility, and adhere to a standard that respects our listeners and the public at large.

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Imus' Racial Remarks

in 2007, nationally syndicated talk show host Don Imus called Rutgers women's basketball players "nappy-headed hos."  Imus was suspended -- then fired -- by CBS Radio.  

Five years later, Imus was back on the national radio circuit, as reported by New Jersey.com

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Rush Limbaugh

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is no stranger to controversy; his latest remarks prompted the Democratic National Committee to call on Republican leaders to boycott the Daily Caller, which defended Limbaugh's remarks in an article entitled, "Liberals want to stop men from checking out women." 

 
 

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