Catherine Welch

News Director

Catherine Welch is news director at Rhode Island Public Radio. Before her move to Rhode Island in 2010, Catherine was news director at WHQR in Wilmington, NC. She was also news director at KBIA in Columbia, MO where she was a faculty member at the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism. Catherine has won several regional Edward R. Murrow awards and awards from the Public Radio News Directors Inc., New England AP, North Carolina Press Association, Missouri Press Association, and Missouri Broadcasters Association.

Now that she manages a full newsroom she files less regularly for NPR’s All Things ConsideredMorning Edition and Weekend Edition.  In 2009 she was part of an NPR series on America’s Battalion out of Camp Lejeune, NC following Marine families during the battalion’s deployment to southern Afghanistan. And because Wilmington was the national test market for the digital television conversion, she became a quasi-expert on DTV, filing stories for NPR on the topic.

Catherine got her start in radio at her family’s radio station in Florida with her weekly jazz show "Catherine Keeping You Company." Her very first interview was with Cab Calloway, and it remains the strangest one she’s ever done. She will gladly tell you the story should you ask.

Before joining the public radio family, Catherine worked in television at KTVU in Oakland, CA and at the cable technology network formerly known as TechTV.

Ways To Connect

File/Ryan T Conaty

Since August, 2010, the Rhode Island Public Radio newsroom has been headed up by News Director Catherine Welch. Friday is Catherine’s last day. She’s leaving for a job in Orlando, Florida where she will be news director at the public radio station WMFE.

Orlando is the 33rd largest television market in the country, and WMFE is a growing station covering Orlando, Daytona Beach and the Space Coast. Catherine has family in Central Florida and is looking forward to being closer to them as well.

file/CVS Health

It’s been a year since CVS Health announced it would remove cigarettes from its stores. The Woonsocket-based company is marking the day by making a donation to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The $5 million donation over five years will go toward programs that reduce tobacco use by kids and reduce their exposure to secondhand smoke. The first grants will be announced March 18th on “Kick Butts Day.”

Chair of the state’s board of education said Tulsa is lucky to land Deborah Gist as its next superintendent of schools. Board chair Eva-Marie Mancuso calls Gist a forward thinker and someone easy to work with.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

The mother of the Rhode Islander diagnosed with Ebola said she first learned their son might have Ebola early Thursday morning. Ashoka Mukpo is heading to Nebraska this weekend, to the same clinic that treated a Massachusetts doctor.

Diana Mukpo said her son quarantined himself as soon as a fever set in, he went to see Doctors Without Borders and by Thursday the Ebola diagnoses had been confirmed. “From the initial phone call I mean, your heart sinks, and then fear sets in, it’s sort of the worst news a parent can get,” she said.

File/Catherine Welch / RIPR

Starting June 2 there will be two flights a week out of TF Green to the Cape Verde islands. The 210-seat aircrafts will be the first regularly scheduled international flights out of the airport.

Flights will take off on Tuesdays and Fridays to the island of Santiago. From there, TACV Carbo Airlines will offer commuter flights to other islands. Gov. Gina Raimondo said the move makes sense given the state’s large Cape Verdean community.

File/Ian Donnis / RIPR

As crews clear roads and parking lots, the excess snow is piling up. And the Department of Environmental Management urges cities, towns and businesses to avoid dumping all that snow into any body of water.

That includes ponds, lakes, rivers, wetlands and the ocean. Why? Well, all the salt, sand, littler and oil from cars pollute the water, harming wildlife and possibly sinking down into the groundwater.

Wikimedia Commons

The American Lung Association has given Rhode Island a mixed report card on tobacco control.  While the state has the third highest cigarette tax, it lags behind in funding prevention.

The state got a “B” for its cigarette tax; the third highest in the nation.  The $3.46 in taxes slapped onto a pack of cigarettes has lowered smoking rates.   However it got an “F” for spending on prevention campaigns. 

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says nearly $2.5 million in federal funding will go toward helping the state’s neediest resident keep the heat on.  That will bring Rhode Island’s total to $27.1 million in federal funding this year. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, helps some 35,000 Rhode Islanders. Many poor residents also get help on their heating bill through the Henry Shelton Act, which places a surcharge on gas and electricity bills. That money goes into a fund to help low-income customers pay their bills.

National Grid said the tremendous growth on Aquidneck Island has prompted it to spend $93 million on upgrading its power system there.

The utility said the current system is outdated and will soon be overwhelmed. How outdated is it? Well, one substation was built in 1949.

As you’ve probably noticed, gas prices continue to drop at the pump. In Rhode Island, a gallon of regular unleaded is down 15 cents from last week. And AAA reports prices have dropped by a dime in Massachusetts with the average gallon in both states going for $2.15.

This is the sixth consecutive week for double digit drops.

In Connecticut gas prices are down by twelve cents to land at $2.35 a gallon.

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Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week, news director Catherine Welch and Mark talk with managing director of the Quonset Development Corp, Steven King. They talk about the future growth of Electric Boat, new companies moving into the business park, and the role of the Quonset state airport.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

The president of Electric Boat said there is opportunity ahead for the submarine maker. But there’s concern about the future of federal funding.

In his forecast to lawmakers, Electric Boat President Jeff Geiger said declining defense budgets and cuts out of Washington create an uncertain environment for the company.


Congressman David Cicilline is bringing the chair of the congressional Immigration Task Force to Rhode Island Wednesday evening to discuss the president’s executive order on immigration.  The public forum will focus on preventing residents from getting caught up in scams.

That’s been a problem since President Obama issued an executive order back in November that offers a legal reprieve to some in the country illegally and parents with children who are U.S. citizens.


Faith leaders and law enforcement from across the state will gather Tuesday night to pray for peace.

After the shooting deaths of two New York policemen, and the events in Ferguson, Missouri, Rev. Robert Marciano thought it would set a tone in Rhode Island if there was a prayer for peace, for law enforcement, and for those who strive for justice.

“The power of prayer can make a difference. And coming together, getting to know each other, as well as praying together is nothing but a win-win for everyone,” said Marciano.

For the 19th week in a row, gas prices have dropped in Rhode Island. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is at $2.30. That’s a dime cheaper than it was a week ago and 45 cents lower than this time last month.

AAA of Southern New England finds Massachusetts drivers are seeing lower prices at the pump as well, with prices falling 11 cents in the past week, putting the average gallon of regular unleaded at $2.25.

Connecticut drivers are still paying more than their Rhode Island neighbors with the average gallon at $2.47.