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Rhode Island PBS, the Public’s Radio announce plan to merge

Pending regulatory approval, the new public media organization will serve listeners and viewers throughout Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts

Audience members watched Boston Globe reporters Edward Fitzpatrick and Jim Ludes interview R.I. House Speaker. K. Joseph Shekarchi and R.I. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio during taping of "Rhode Island Report Live: Celebrating Civic Leadership" at the Rhode Island PBS studios in Providence, R.I., on May 31, 2023.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island’s premier public media outlets — Rhode Island PBS and the Public’s Radio — announced Thursday their plan to merge.

The move, which still requires federal and state regulatory approval, will create a regional public media organization that will serve communities in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

“We have believed for quite some time that our amazing organizations will be stronger and achieve even greater impact together,” said Dave Laverty, chair of the Rhode Island PBS Foundation Board. “By combining resources and talent, we can build on our respective traditions of trust and integrity to meet audiences where they are, across platforms, to deliver rich programming that is meaningful, accessible, and inclusive.”


The merger will create a combined team of nearly 100 employees. Rhode Island PBS’s podcast and broadcast collaboration with Globe Rhode Island will continue, Rhode Island PBS President David Piccerelli told the Globe.

The media landscape has changed dramatically in the 25 years he has been with Rhode Island PBS, Piccerelli said, and the need for reliable, quality journalism has only become stronger.

“I am ecstatic about this merger because it enhances our ability to … tell powerful stories and make an impact on our community,” he said.

Rhode Island PBS and the Public’s Radio have earned a plethora of awards and distinctions, including Emmys, Telly Awards, recognition from the Public Media Journalists Association, and Edward R. Murrow Awards.

“This is a tremendously exciting moment for our organizations and for the audiences we serve,” said Elizabeth Delude-Dix, chair of board of directors of the Public’s Radio, formerly known as Rhode Island Public Radio. “As a unified public media organization, we anticipate building new relationships and fostering deep partnerships while opening our audience’s eyes and ears to new experiences in the arts, sciences, humanities, and politics.”


“A vibrant public media can create a stronger civic life and, together, we can better deliver on our missions,” she said.

After the merger, Piccerelli will continue to serve as CEO of Rhode Island PBS. Torey Malatia will continue to serve as president, chief executive officer, and general manager of the Public’s Radio. No significant programming changes are expected as the organizations go through the regulatory approval process with the Federal Communications Commission and the state’s attorney general’s office.

The new organization will be located in the existing Rhode PBS building at 50 Park Lane in Providence, Rhode Island PBS reported. Both boards will continue to exist until the merger is finalized, at which point they will form a single board co-chaired by Laverty and Delude-Dix. They expect the deal to be finalized in the spring of 2024.

“Our thoughtfulness and independence are a core part of our mission and identity. These values are shared by our colleagues at Rhode Island PBS,” Malatia said. “Together, we want every listener, viewer, and follower — every supporter and every skeptic — to have access to the best information necessary to be engaged in their communities.”

Lylah Alphonse can be reached at Follow her @WriteEditRepeat.