Tony Mascaro replacing Schwalb as WPRO program director

Rhode Island’s top news-talk radio station will soon be under new leadership.

Cumulus Media Inc. announced Thursday that Craig Schwalb, program director at WPRO-AM 630 and business-talk station WPRV-AM 790 since July 2012, is leaving Rhode Island to become program director at 77 WABC-AM in New York, a news-talk station that’s putting a new emphasis on local content.

The new program director at WPRO and WPRV will be Tony Mascaro, who began his career in Providence and is currently the operations manager at 77 WABC, a job Mascaro has held since June 2012.

Barbara Haynes, general manager of the Cumulus stations in Providence, said Schwalb was already in New York on Thursday, while Mascaro’s first day at WPRO will be on Friday.

Mascaro spent more than a decade as a WPRO-FM 92.3 disc jockey before his departure in May 1997 to take a job at WPLJ-FM 95.5 in New York City, according to published reports at the time. On Twitter Thursday, one longtime listener recalled when Mascaro was the host of “TM in the PM” in the 1980s.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Providence where it all started for me,” Mascaro said in a statement. “WPRO-AM is a legendary radio station with an amazing line-up of talent.” He added that he is grateful “for this opportunity to program a heritage radio station in a great radio market.”

Atlanta-based Cumulus bought WPRO’s former parent company, Citadel Broadcasting Corp., in 2011. The management switch comes as WPRO is facing a union-led campaign to force morning talk-show host John DePetro off the air. The station has declined to comment on his future.

WPRO-AM is one of five radio stations Cumulus owns in the Providence market, along with 92.3 WPRO-FM, LiteRock 105.1 (WWLI-FM), Hot 106.3 (WWKX-FM) and WPRV-AM 790. WPRO-AM also simulcasts its signal on 99.7 WEAN-FM.

According to Cumulus, its highest-rated Providence station is LiteRock 105, which gets an average of 497,000 adult listeners a week, followed by 92.3 WPRO-FM with 466,100 a week; Hot 106 with 201,400 a week; WPRO-AM with 157,100 a week; and AM 790 with 25,100 a week.

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