Rhode Island Attorney General approves merger of public radio stations

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha has approved the merger of Rhode Island PBS and public radio stations into a new entity.

The Attorney General’s Office conducted a detailed assessment based on 31 statutory criteria covering aspects such as governance, valuation, potential conflicts of interest and public interest. The analysis concluded that the merger would benefit the community and support both organizations in continuing to provide valuable local media services.

The merger application process began in November with applications from the Rhode Island PBS Foundation and public radio stations. Additional information was submitted on January 12 at the request of the Attorney General. A public consultation meeting was held in February, and the review process was completed shortly thereafter.

Public radio stations operate primary signals WNPN 89.3, as well as WNPE in South County and Newport, and WPVD-AM/W275DA in Providence. They also plan to build two upcoming stations: WNPW in Westerly and WNPK on Block Island. Public Radio’s Torey Malatia and Rhode Island PBS’ David Piccerelli will serve as CEOs of the combined entity.

The review was led by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Provazza and Special Assistant Attorney General Alex Carnevale of the Bureau of Public Protection.

Attorney General Neronha said, “Public media make unique and significant contributions to the quality of life in Rhode Island, and its continued vitality is critical. For many Rhode Islanders, PBS and public radio stations have been important local media sources, and as a new combined entity they will be able to maintain the value they contribute to our state. I want to thank all parties involved in this transaction – the public stakeholders, parties and The office team who reviewed this transaction – the attention and effort throughout the entire process.

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