Things have improved considerably at WRNI (1290 AM), Rhode Island's public radio station, since Jane Christo, the then-GM of the Boston-based WBUR Group, announced plans to sell it in 2004. Christo is long gone, and Boston University, which holds the license for WRNI, decided to maintain its affliliation with the station.
It was an auspicious sign when Joe O'Connor, who has a strong broadcast background, was hired as WRNI's GM. As a function of budgeting, WRNI remains less ambitious than it was in its pre-9/11 heyday. Yet the hiring of reporter Nancy Cook, who has mixed some impressive enterprise reporting with the day-to-day stuff, a partnership with Trinity Rep, and the return of the political roundtable featuring URI's Maureen Moakley and the ProJo's Scott MacKay (albeit at a less than ideal time), strengthen the station's capabilities.
O'Connor is scheduled to speak tomorrow, Thursday, February 15, at 7 pm, at the Rochambeau Branch of the Providence Public Library, 708 Hope St., about the role of public radio and the future of WRNI.