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On Point producer named GM at WRNI

Joe O’Connor brings “stellar broadcast experience,” says Fiedler”

Joseph O'Connor, who will lead WRNI, was a Nieman Fellow before coming to WBUR.

Joseph O’Connor, a five-time Emmy Award–winner and the current senior producer of On Point, National Public Radio’s live morning news program, has been named general manager of WRNI-AM, the Providence, R.I., radio station owned by Boston University’s NPR station WBUR. O’Connor will assume control of the station on May 15, 2006.

Peter Fiedler, BU’s vice president of administrative services and the head of the WRNI search committee, says he hired O’Connor to ensure the growth of the Rhode Island station. “Joseph’s hire reflects our long-term commitment to our Rhode Island listeners,” says Fiedler. “His profound understanding of in-depth news reporting and his extensive staff management expertise are the qualities needed to revitalize the station.” The search for a new general manager began last June, when Fiedler — then serving as interim general manager of WBUR — announced that the station had decided not to sell WRNI and its affiliate, WXNI, and instead to install a permanent general manager, based in Rhode Island, at the stations. The process officially got under way, as planned, when Paul LaCamera was appointed president of the WBUR group last fall.

O’Connor brings more than two decades of broadcast experience to the position, having started his career at CNN in 1980 and been a writer for ABC News Radio, an associate producer at Good Morning America, and a producer at Nightline. A Nieman Fellow, he studied at Harvard prior to joining WBUR as a senior producer for On Point, which is produced by WBUR and broadcast by NPR stations around the country.

WRNI, acquired by WBUR in 1998, won the regional “News Station of the Year” award from the Associated Press in 2003 and 2004.

“I have always believed public radio provides news and information with the highest standards of integrity, and as such, provides a valuable public service to the audiences and communities it serves,” O’Connor says. “The station’s staff deserves much credit for establishing that record of service in Rhode Island, and I can’t wait to join them in furthering that work.”