RI Radio Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2016

WPRO Board

The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announced its list of 2016 inductees on Wednesday, March 24. The Hall of Fame, established in 2008 by local radio professionals, celebrates the history of the industry in Rhode Island, and to honor the men and women who have played a part in its growth.

The official induction banquet for the Class of 2016 will take place at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI on Thursday, May 12th at 7:00 pm, with a “meet and greet” cocktail hour beginning at 5:30 pm. Tickets for the dinner and awards ceremony are $55 each and proceeds from the event will benefit Special Olympics of Rhode Island.

Here are the 2016 honorees:

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.

Mike Gorman – Michael “Mike” Gorman is a television play-by-play commentator for the Boston Celtics basketball team, currently broadcasting on the Comcast Sportsnet New England. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Mike Gorman 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.

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.

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 lead her to a successful career as a press secretary/communications director at Warwick City Hall, US Senate, RI State House and on the 2016 presidential campaign trail.

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 WPRO’s own Karen Kutniewski.

The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Denise Laprise to celebrate her 30 years as support staffer for Providence media, including 17 years here at WPRO and Cumulus Providence.

This year’s induction ceremony will also include 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.

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.

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