RHODE ISLAND RADIO LEGENDS HONORED
Shepard Award, Distinguished Service Award, Legacy Station also to be named
Smithfield, RI - The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame, established in 2008 by local radio professionals 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 - today announced its class of inductees for 2016:
Holland Cooke – Holland Cooke began his radio career at WPRO-AM as the evening DJ from 1974 to 1980. Two jobs later, he returned to Rhode Island radio as Program Director at WSNE. In 1984, he was promoted to Operations Manager at WTOP in Washington where he held the position for seven years. In 1991, he and three partners founded a tech start-up company that became the first-ever live in-flight audio channels – a system that pioneered the technology that evolved into today’s satellite radio. For the past 20 years, Holland has worked as a media consultant specializing in News/Talk/Sports radio. He’s a familiar face on MSNBC and guest-host of The Jim Bohannon Show, which can be heard on WHJJ in Providence.
Bob DeCarlo – Bob DeCarlo was born in New York City, raised in Northeast Pennsylvania and, after graduating from Penn State in 1962, began his 46-year professional broadcasting career at WICE 1290 AM in Providence. While there he was named Rhode Island DJ of the Year in 1967 and he started the Junior Achievement Radio Company – the first of its kind in the country. Bob was always at or near the top of the ratings - regardless of his time slot. After seven years at WICE, the final two as Program Director, Bob moved on to large radio markets throughout the United States. His warm and friendly voice was heard all over America in radio and TV commercials. Bob and his wife Linda live in Panama City Beach, FL and own McDonald's restaurants.
Bill George – Bill George is a native Rhode Islander who started in radio at the Rhode Island College station WXIN, serving as a DJ, Program Director and General Manager. He began his professional radio career at Lite 105 (WWLI) in 1988 and later became the Director of Programming and Operations for Providence’s first newly expanded radio group of WWLI, WLKW-AM, WPRO-AM and PRO-FM. Bill moved on to programming positions in Boston (WSSH, WSJZ), Honolulu (KUCD, KKLV) and Long Island, NY (WKJY, WHLI, WBZO and WMJC). He returned to Providence in 2004 as PD/News Director at NewsRadio 920 WHJJ, also adding programming responsibilities at B101 (WWBB) where he currently serves as the afternoon drive DJ.
Mike Gorman – Michael "Mike" Gorman is a television play-by-play commentator for the Boston Celtics basketball team, currently broadcasting on Comcast Sportsnet New England. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Mike began his broadcasting career at WNBH in New Bedford, Massachusetts and WPRO radio in Providence, Rhode Island where he delivered sports on the Salty Brine Morning Show. Gorman served as sports director at WPRI-TV in Providence; as the voice of the University of Rhode Island on WPRO; and as television play-by-play man for the Providence College Friars. For over thirty years he and color commentator Tom Heinsohn have formed one of the longest-tenured broadcast tandems in professional sports – broadcasting Boston Celtics basketball games.
Bruce Palmer – Bruce Palmer grew up in suburban Philadelphia and came to Rhode Island radio in the late 1980s for a tenure which would last nearly 20 years on WWBB (B101) and WPRV (the since-defunct True Oldies 790). At B101 he hosted afternoons and the iconic “All-Request Saturday Night.” And while he now hosts weekday mornings with Classic Hits in Worcester, “Cruisin” Bruce remains active in the Ocean State, hosting car shows & charitable events each summer all across Little Rhody. In fact, the northern half of RI can still listen in to the Bruce Palmer Show every morning on 100 FM “the Pike.” He can also be heard on the Westwood One Radio network’s “Goodtime Oldies” channel on nearly 100 stations nationwide.
Debbie Rich – Debbie Rich is an award-winning broadcast journalist. A Providence native, Debbie attended the University of Rhode Island where she anchored WRIU’s first live election night coverage in 1972. Debbie’s professional radio career began at WALE in Fall River and continued in the RI and Massachusetts markets over the next 14 years at WNBH/WMYS, WSAR, WLKW, WHJJ/94HJY, Lite-105, WPRO, 1110-CNN and WCTK. She covered high profile court cases and politics including the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. A love of the political process led her to a successful career as a press secretary/communications director at Warwick City Hall, in the US Senate, RI State House and on the 2016 presidential campaign trail.
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Additionally, the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio in the Ocean State (John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores) and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – goes to Karen Kutniewski. Karen K's voice is a familiar one to local radio and TV audiences through her production work on commercials for the station group currently owned by Cumulus Media, and on other radio and TV stations throughout the state.
The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Denise Laprise to celebrate her more than 25 years as a support staffer for Providence media.
This year’s induction ceremony also included recognition for the Legacy Station of the Year. Created to recognize outstanding Rhode Island radio stations of the past, their formats, and their personnel on and off the air, this year we remember JB 105 (WPJB-FM).
As an added attraction to the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame, local radio fans are encouraged to participate as Associate Members, by contributing a one-time fee of $25. For their donation, fans will earn the right to nominate and vote for local radio industry professionals for future consideration in the Hall of Fame. The $25 lifetime membership fee is tax deductible, and more information (including payment options) can be found at www.rirhof.org.