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 / RIPR

The latest survey out of AAA Southern New England finds a gallon of regular unleaded is going to cost less than $3.00. It’s been four years since prices were this low.

Sure at $2.98 it’s just under $3, but that’s still 22 cents cheaper than it was a month ago. Federal officials say weak fuel demand and lower crude oil prices are keeping costs down at the pump. And drivers can expect the average price for a gallon of unleaded to stay below $3.00 next year.

Massachusetts drivers are paying a nickel less than Rhode Islanders, with an average gallon at $2.93.

The state made an early payment to the U.S. Treasury on a loan used to cover unemployment benefits. It was the state’s final payment and the feds got it six months early.

Since March of 2009, Rhode Island borrowed nearly a billion dollars to cover unemployment benefits. The state made its final payment on that lump sum six months early, saving businesses more than $50 million next year. It will save local businesses said department of Labor and Training director Charles Fogarty.

Starting Monday hundreds of volunteers will fan out across the state to take a comprehensive count of the homeless. The goal is to understand their housing needs, and end homelessness in the state by the end of 2016.

They’ll check the shelters, walk the streets, and comb the woods seeking out the homeless, and asking a series of questions about their needs. Once the data are compiled, Coalition for the Homeless Executive Director Jim Ryczek will have a grasp on who needs immediate help.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Providence has dropped its lawsuit against the bank Santander. The suit filed back in May claimed the bank deliberately limited lending in minority neighborhoods while expanding lending in white ones.

At the time, lawyers called the bank’s lending practices a civil rights issue. Less than six months later, they settled. Santander will make $1.3 million in grants going to the Providence Community Library, arts organization AS220, and a non-profit that will help low-income residents secure a mortgage.

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Coffee makers from across the northeast have flocked to Providence to trade tips on how to make the perfect espresso, how to steam milk just right for a great latte, or where to find the best beans.

This year, said owner of New Harvest Coffee Rik Kleinfeldt, there will be much discussion about a fungus plaguing farmers. “Right now there’s a terrible fungus spreading throughout Central America called Roya, so we’re actually hosting growers from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to discuss that issue,” he said.


Allan Fung said despite losing his bid for governor, he’s proud of the race he ran. Fung’s democratic rival Gina Raimondo won the race with just 40 percent of the vote. Fung said maybe it’s time for runoff elections.

"The moose was on the loose," is how Fung describes the 22 percent gleaned by Moderate Party candidate Bob Healey, referring to Healey’s days as the cool moose candidate.  Fung’s main opponent, Gina Raimondo, is the second consecutive governor elected with less than 50 percent of the vote.


Developer Joe Paolino says he’ll try again to bring table games to Newport. Voters approved turn the Newport Grand slot parlor into a casino, but Newporters voted it down. 

Massachusetts voters gave gambling there a thumbs up. And that will hurt the slot parlor, said Paolino “You know right now I’m more concerned about the workers, because the workers are the ones that really put up this fight, they’re very concerned about their jobs.”

Proponents pushed the jobs angle; while opponents said a casino didn’t fit in Newport.


To take a closer look at the Providence mayor’s race, we brought in Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mike Stanton … who is considered by many the unofficial biographer of Buddy Cianci. A twice convicted felon, Cianci is running again for mayor. As part of our Rhody Votes election coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch sat down with Stanton to talk about Cianci’s past and whether it is prologue.

For all of our election coverage, visit the Rhody Votes page at our website here.

The Nebraska Medical Center

There were times when Ashoka Mukpo didn’t know if he would survive Ebola. Mukpo spent about two and a half weeks in a Nebraska hospital after coming down with Ebola while working as a freelance cameraman in Liberia

He is now back home in Providence.

Mukpo said even thought his symptoms got worse, he knew he was in good hands. After about twelve days he could see in his doctors’ eyes that he was probably going to make it.  “I felt that it was manageable, I never felt serious panic coming from any of the nurses,” he said. “So I felt that I was in relatively good hands.”

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new CBS/New York Times poll shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo leading Republican Allan Fung.

File / RIPR

As part of our Rhody Votes election coverage, we’re taking a look at the Providence mayor’s race. The Republican, Daniel Harrop, has rolled out an unorthodox campaign: its cornerstone is to put the city into

receivership, he’s used his time in debates to criticize independent Buddy Cianci, is weighing the option of dropping out of the race, and made a thousand dollar donation to his Democratic challenger Jorge Elorza.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Republican running in the Providence mayor's race said he's considering dropping out of the race. Daniel Harrop said his three percent showing in the Brown University Taubman Center poll released Thursday forced him to consider the option.

Harrop said he will meet with his team to discuss how bowing out would affect the race, before making a decision. Harrop has sharply criticized independent Buddy Cianci, a former mayor and twice convicted felon.  

Taylor Wilson / Nebraska Medical Center

The Rhode Islander diagnosed with Ebola is asking the public to give him space and privacy as he leaves a Nebraska hospital today and heads home to Providence. Ashoka Mukpo spent two and a half weeks in isolation to treat the deadly virus.

Doctors at The Nebraska Medical Center said age was the main factor as to why the 33-year-old recovered more quickly than the Massachusetts doctor whom they also treated.

At a press conference, University of Nebraska Medical Center chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Gold read a statement by Mukpo filled with gratitude for his medical care.


The Rhode Islander who was the fifth American to return to the US to be treated for Ebola, is virus-free. Doctors say he will be released from isolation this morning.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

There’s a photograph on Cranston Mayor Allan Fung’s desk of his first inauguration. He’s being sworn into the mayor’s office he has the family Bible and his parents are by his side. “I can see the pride in my mom’s eyes, in my dad’s eyes as I was getting sworn in,” said Fung.

He looks at this photo almost every day, “and it just reminds me of who I am and how far they’ve come, and because of what they did I’m where I am.”