WARWICK, RI (WPRI) – This September, Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca will be inducted into the Rhode Island Radio and Television Hall of Fame.
Tony, a native of Rhode Islander with a passion for all things Mother Nature, was unanimously voted into this year’s class back in March.
He will be officially inducted alongside ABC 6’s Ken Bell, as well as WJAR’s Frank Carpano and Doug White, during a ceremony on Sept. 15.
Even though Tony just celebrated his 35th year at WPRI 12, his zest for forecasting started well before he launched his broadcast career in March 1987.
Tony used “do the weather” in his parent’s basement.
“I got the map and the weather wall from a fold-up Rand McNally map in my father’s glove compartment,” Tony said. “My friend was behind the pretend camera… and that was my first time doing television news.”
Tony grew up watching WPRI 12, and hoped to one day be on the other side of the screen.
“John Ghiorse, Steve Cascione, Harvey Leornard when he started in Providence… Kent Brouhard and Tom Chisolm,” Tony said. “I remember sitting there and saying‘ I want to do that, I want to be them. ’”
Little did he know at the time, he would be just like them and so much more.
Now a decorated meteorologist, Tony will be given the ultimate honor in September, when he joins the list of greats who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in this year’s past.
While his while career has brought him across the country, he said the most rewarding part is interacting with those who welcome him into their homes every night.
“To have people come up to me and say ‘hi’ and ‘thank you’… and to really invite me into their living rooms via a television or a computer, it means a lot,” he said.
Tony isn’t sure when he will officially call it quits, adding that he’s not ready to throw in the towel anytime soon.
“I’m going to pull a Tom Brady and what I plan to do is retire next year and then change my mind,” Tony joked. “No, I love it… and until it feels like work, I’ll still want to do it. It’s just something I’ve always loved to do and I look forward to many more years. “