Gene Valicenti

Inducted: 2023
Born: 1960

This year, Gene Valicenti crosses over the 30-year mark at WJAR, starting as a freelance reporter in the summer of 1992. As co-anchor of the top-rated NBC 10 News at 6, host of the “10 News Conference” political program, and morning man for WPRO radio, Gene has deservedly come to be known as “Rhode Island’s Anchorman.”

What a ride it has been and what a year 2023 was to be with Gene inducted into the Rhode Island Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the prestigious Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. A five-time Emmy winner and recipient of multiple AP and Edward R. Murrow awards, Gene is the only person ever to take home three “Best of RI” awards in one year! In 2016, Gene was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Silver Circle for 25 years of distin­guished service. Gene’s longtime support of charitable and non-profit events has earned him several humanitarian awards, including special recognition from the Rhode Island Red Cross, the DaVinci Center for Social Progress, and the UNICO “Mille Grazie” award for foster­ing a positive image of Italian Americans. Gene is also a New England coordinator for the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), working on issues of importance for the community.

A “Street Reporter” at heart, Gene has covered many of Channel 10’s biggest stories, including papal visits, local and national elections, and the 9/11 attacks in New York City, where he was one of the first reporters to reach ground zero. He later reported exclusively from Washington, DC, and traveled to Guantanamo, Cuba. Gene moderates all of the station’s political debates and was even the subject of his own “Day in the life of” profile on Rhode Island PBS.

A New Jersey native and graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, Gene started his career as a desk assistant for WPIX in New York and worked at New Jersey and Connecticut stations. He married his high school sweetheart, has three daughters, and makes his home in Kent County. On a personal note, Gene is grateful for the opportunity to succeed in the only job he’s ever wanted and to spend most of his career in Rhode Island, where the audience has welcomed him into their homes for more than three decades.

He remembers writing for the school newspaper in New Jersey and even setting up a makeshift basement studio with an old convenience store security camera! He was hooked after a high school visit to WNBC in New York in 1977, where the studio’s excitement set him on a career path for the next 40-plus years.

Gene’s first break in broad­casting came in college in 1981 when WPIX hired him to staff its New Jersey bureau, an excellent primer for a long career to come. But Gene’s most significant breaks came in 1978 when 17-year-old Diane Mandikian said yes to the senior prom, and in 1986 when they got married, and in 1992 when the first of their three daugh­ters was born. For Gene, it’s been a great run and a wonderful life.

In 2016, he was selected as Grand Manager of the Gaspee Day Parade, America’s first armed strike for independence. His support of charitable organizations has earned him several humanitarian awards.

Gene Valicenti was inducted into The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 2023.

For further viewing:
To the Top of the Charts, Gene Valicenti, PBS, July 6, 2021.

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