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

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston Thursday will hear a case out of Rhode Island. It involves the 2009 detainment of a North Providence woman.  The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says the woman was a naturalized citizen at the time.

Ada Morales sued federal immigration officials and Rhode Island’s head of prisons, claiming she was detained illegally when she was taken into custody and held for a day. Rhode Island ACLU Director Steve Brown said the detainment violated her rights to equal protection and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Cade Tompkins Projects

Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he likes his official portrait. An image of the painting was released online, but the artist has yet to officially present it to the state.

The painting shows a somber Chafee in a jacket and tie looking off to the side against a dark background. Chafee said he and artist Julie Gearan met about four times, she took picture of him, and they looked at other portraits from across the country.

“Well the main thing I said to the artist is just something different from the many that are up there,” said Chafee.


Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian is being inaugurated Tuesday. The mayor will be taking a RIPTA bus to his inaugural event to highlight the city’s push to become a transportation hub.

The National Weather Service warns a blast of arctic air out of northern Canada will bring dangerously cold temperatures on Wednesday.

The arctic blast will hit Rhode Island Wednesday afternoon, packing strong winds and sending temperatures down near zero by Wednesday evening, said meteorologist Glenn Fields. “And then overnight looking at the actual temperature dropping to roughly three or four degrees in Providence, and probably a degree or two below zero in the Burrillville area.”

Catherine Welch / RIPR

WPRI reporter Sean Daly has been on television airwaves in Rhode Island for more than 30 years. Now, he is officially retired. Daly visited our studios to talk with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch about how the state and the state of local news have changed over the past three decades.

He's written what’s often called “the first draft of history” for some of the biggest stories in the state: the Claus Van Bulow attempted murder trials, Buddy Cianci and Plunder Dome, the credit union crisis, and Central Falls filing for bankruptcy.


Research out of the University of Rhode Island shows that more and more, people are living in communities with a common political view. And the political sorting is becoming more polarized with each election.

Are Republicans and Democrats living side by side? That’s what URI professor Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz wanted to know, so she poured over election data and relocation patterns from 1976 to 2012. She found that communities are becoming more politically polarized, but not because people were moving.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s jobless rate edged down to 7.1 percent in November. It’s still above the national rate of 5.8 percent. The jobless rate has dropped two percentage points so far for the year.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Five European companies are looking to set up shop in Rhode Island. Gov. Lincoln Chafee said the announcement is part of an economic tide rolling in to Rhode Island.

At an announcement at the Statehouse, the five companies said they have plans to put down stakes here. SCORE, an encryption technology firm, will locate a data processing center. REIOS designs efficient lighting systems and will build an assembly plant. Italian restaurant chain Galivm will open at least one location. And Furniture maker Monaghan Brothers out of Ireland said it will open a show room.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

In a packed hearing room, the state’s Public Utilities Commission listened to testimony for much of the day on National Grid’s proposed 24 percent rate hike.

The increase would kick in January 1st, how long it will last is another matter. The PUC heard testimony both for and against stretching a lower rate out over twelve months as opposed to the requested six months.

Residents will get a chance Tuesday to tell the state’s Public Utilities Commission how they feel about a proposed 24 percent rate hike from National Grid.  If approved, the rate hike would kick in on January 1st .

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee said one of his biggest regrets is not getting his first budget passed. That budget proposed lowering the sales tax but expanding it to other items and services.


Rhode Island State Police and a number of organizations are holding a public forum Monday to discuss the gap between law enforcement and minority communities. 

Col. Steven O’Donnell said it’s a chance for law enforcement to explain how they do their job and in return residents can reflect on how police are perceived. “There’s so much that we do that people really don’t know, and I think it’s important that they know what we’re doing. We’re not always going to be perfect, but if we engage that community there’s a better understanding of how we do business,” said O’Donnell.

File / RIPR

Providence mayor Angel Taveras said he’s thrilled with a pledge from the bank Santander to make millions of dollars of loans to low and moderate-income residents.

The city sued the bank last May claiming it deliberately limited loans in minority neighborhoods. That lawsuit was dropped, and in return Santander gave Providence $1.3 million in grants and now promises to make $24 million in loans over the next three years.

File / RIPR

More troopers will be out on the roads starting Friday cracking down on drunk drivers.

State Police will roll out two initiatives. The first one starts Friday with troopers looking out for aggressive drivers, drivers who are texting, seatbelt violations, and drunk or impaired drivers. That runs through New Year’s Day.

Last month, hundreds of volunteers fanned out across the state to survey the state’s homeless population. They checked shelters, walked the streets and combed the woods; seeking out homeless residents and asking questions about their health and needs. The data were then compiled and analyzed by homeless advocates. Jim Ryczek executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless shared what they found with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch.