Rhode Island Public Radio Rebrands As The Public’s Radio

The Public's Radio Rhode Island RIPR 89.3 WNPNRhode Island Public Radio has rebranded as “The Public’s Radio” to emphasize its increased coverage through the state and Southeastern Massachusetts.

The move follows the group’s 2017 acquisition of 89.3 WUMD North Dartmouth MA and its subsequent move to Newport RI with an upgrade to Class B from a tower site in Tiverton RI. That signal, now under WNPN call letters, was acquired to serve as the primary signal for the network which previously relied on The Wheeler School’s 88.1 WELH Providence and Coventry Public School’s 91.5 WCVY Coventry as well as RIPR’s 102.7 WRNI-FM (now WNPE) Narragansett Pier and previously 1290 WRNI (now WRPA) Providence. The addition of WNPN also gives the station full coverage of the New Bedford MA market.

Within a letter to listeners explaining the rebranding, CEO Torey Malatia writes:

One year ago, we purchased 89.3 FM, a broadcast frequency that now serves 300,000 folks in Rhode Island who have never before been able to hear any of the other frequencies on which we broadcast in the state. Not 88.1, nor 102.7, nor 91.5. Again, 300,000 new Rhode Islanders.

In addition, broadcasting on 89.3 brings our service to 400,000 more people who have never been able to hear our broadcasts, but these individuals are not in the Ocean State, but are across the imaginary line that separates Rhode Island from Southeastern Massachusetts.

So, now our name once again seems oddly awkward. Are we really Rhode Island Public Radio? Or Rhode Island Public Radio Plus? Maybe Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts, and South Coast Public Radio? How about Southern New England Public Radio?

That’s when we moved the camera back. Because we were missing the forest; we were definitely too close to the trees.

We thought about founding principles: our mission and our mandate. We reasoned that if we reflected on the execution of our mission fully, and how that should be perceived in the community as a service, it could help us find a way to articulate our identity based on what we do as opposed to our zip code.

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