Rhode Island Public Radio should hire Andrew Gobeil to host a moderate and fair call-in talk radio show. The Ocean State could really use this. I haven’t spoken to either party about about this idea, but it sure seems to be a no-brainer to me. RIPR is a great young radio station in need of a personality to engage its listeners and Gobeil is a talented talker and a proven journalist who was fired by WPRO last week.
I know RIPR has long-sought to create something like a local On Point – a topical, call-in show with guests that enlightens listeners through engaging conversation. The still-young start up radio station would be wise to do so. There are so many of us media consumers out here working away on laptops and in offices or who would tune in daily. And if you also made it a podcast, you would get that many more listeners. Think in terms of the “virtuous circle” that WPRI is investing in.
I’m pretty certain Gobeil is the perfect fit. He’s great at live radio, he’s a proven reporter, he’s well-known, he’s well-respected and he’s all over the local social networks.
If station manager Joe O’Connor and news director Catherine Welch want to check out what Gobeil is capable of on air, they should listen to last Wednesday’s John DePetro Show. After being on live from 5 to 9 a.m., Gobeil was asked to fill in for DePetro who didn’t show up for work. Not only did he put in three additional hours on the spot with no prep time, he nailed it. I even tweeted as much at the time – twice! Here and here.
It was nuanced and fair and intelligent talk radio. Not to put too fine a point on it, but such content simply isn’t what WPRO is interested in producing. And, quite frankly, management there might indeed be right that the market won’t support it. This economic reality is both why Gobeil was fired and why public radio exists.