WPRO-A/Providence Host, Former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci Dies
January 28, 2016 at 10:59 AM (PT)
VINCENT "BUDDY" CIANCI, the former Mayor of PROVIDENCE, RI and longtime CUMULUS News-Talk WPRO-A-WEAN/PROVIDENCE host, died TODAY (1/28) in PROVIDENCE at 74. CIANCI took ill with abdominal pains while recording his weekly TV show "ON THE RECORD WITH BUDDY CIANCI" on WEDNESDAY at the studios of ABC affiliate WLNE-TV. On MONDAY, CIANCI had returned from a week off due to illness and said that he had started chemotherapy for a treatable form of cancer.
CIANCI, who appeared on radio at the age of 7 on WJAR-A/PROVIDENCE's "KIDDIE REVUE," became a lawyer and, after military service, was appointed to the RHODE ISLAND attorney general's office and led the Anti-Corruption Strike Force until being elected Mayor in 1974 as a Republican. He ran for Governor in 1980 and lost, then left the Republican Party and became an independent. After entering a nolo contendre plea in an assault case, he resigned from the Mayoral post in 1984.
CIANCI's first talk radio stint was in 1984, when he began hosting a show on News-Talk WHJJ-A/PROVIDENCE. He left the media to run for a return to City Hall, winning election in 1990, but was indicted as part of "Operation Plunder Dome" on federal racketeering charges as well as extortion, conspiracy, mail fraud, and witness tampering. CIANCI won acquittal on 26 of the 27 charges, but his conviction on one racketeering charge led to a five year sentence in federal prison. While awaiting word on an appeal, CIANCI, who maintained his innocence, joined WPRO-A as a host; after his release, he rejoined WPRO and hosted there and at WLNE-TV for the rest of his life, except for a period in 2014 when he ran for Mayor again as an independent, losing to JORGE ELORZA.
The colorful and controversial CIANCI was name-checked in episodes of "FAMILY GUY," set in fictional QUAHOG, RI, with the local junior high school named after him.