Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2015 Inductees

Thursday, March 26, 2015


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Image: CP Storm/Flickr

The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announced its class of inductees for 2015 on Wednesday morning. The Hall of Fame was established in 2008 by local radio professionals in order to “celebrate the storied history of the industry in Rhode Island, and to honor the men and women who have played a part in its growth.”

This year’s inductees are:

“Big John" Bina: On air talent for WSAR, WPRO AM & FM, and B101 from the 1970’s through the 21st century. 

Roger Bouchard: President and General Manager of Woonsocket’s WNRI.

Joannie Edwardsen: On air talent for WSNE and Lite 105 for 21 years, most famous for her role on the “Jones and Joan” Morning Show.

Duffy Egan: Director of Engineering for Cumulus Media. Oversees WPRO AM/FM, Lite 105, Hot 106, WPRV. Eagan also oversees stations in Worcester and Springfield. Contract Engineer for URI radio station WRIU. 
Mike Montecalvo: Best known as WPRI-12’s evening anchor, his career started in radio at WNRI in Woonsocket and continued over the next 33 years at WWON, WINY, WKRI, WERI, RI104, 103.7 WRX, 1110 CNN, B101, WHJY and WHJJ. 

Joe Thomas: On air personality and DJ on WPAW, WHIM, WPRO, and WJAR from the 1950’s through the 80’s. In 1964, a Billboard magazine survey determined Joe Thomas far and away the most influential DJ for influencing single record sales in the Providence market.
The Shepard Award, created to “recognize the founders of radio in the Ocean State and to honor present-day contributors to the industry,” is being awarded to Fred Friendly, producer of Edward R. Murrow’s “See It Now” on CBS TV. Friendly went on to help form PBS. A graduate of Hope High School, he began his career at WEAN, working there 1937-41.

Distinguished Service awards will be presented to Paul Fuller & Al Matthews to celebrate their 25 years at 94 HJY and to WBZ radio’s Mark Katic for his award-winning news and sports coverage.

The Broadcaster of the Year will be announced at the awards ceremony.

The official induction banquet for the Class of 2015 will take place at Twin River in Lincoln, RI on Thursday, May 7th at 7:00 pm.

Tickets for the dinner and awards ceremony are $55 each (table of 10 $500) and proceeds from the event will benefit Special Olympics of Rhode Island.  

Tickets may be purchased by calling (401) 741-3130, and additional information may be found by logging on to the RIRHOF official website at www.rirhof.org.


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.  

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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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