WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — As if it wasn’t already, Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca’s name was etched into Rhode Island history Thursday night as he was inducted into the state’s Radio and Television Hall of Fame.
Tony, a native Rhode Islander with a passion for all things Mother Nature, was unanimously voted into this year’s class back in March.
“I’m blessed to do what I love,” he said. “This is my home state, I was born here, and my love for meteorology started … in my childhood home.”
Tony was inducted alongside six other Rhode Island legends, including 92 PRO FM’s David Simpson, ABC 6’s Ken Bell and Truman Taylor, and NBC 10’s Frank Carpano, Doug White and Joanie Pfeiffer.
Tony launched his career in March 1987, when he made his TV debut on WPRI 12.
“My parents sometimes used to call me John Ghiorse,” Tony said with a laugh, referencing the meteorologist who had been inducted into the Radio and Television Hall of Fame last year. “I grew up watching John Ghiorse, Steve Cascione, Hank Bouchard, Harvey Leonard and Tom Chisolm … I wanted to be them.”
Tony thanked everyone who helped him get to where he is today, including his mother, whom he described as his “biggest fan.”
“She will call, during a newscast, to let me know that it’s raining in Cranston, as if I didn’t have the technology to know that already,” he said with a laugh.
So, how long does he plan to stick around?
While he’s not sure when he will retire, it won’t be anytime soon.
“Until it feels like work, I’ll still want to do it,” he said. “It’s just something I’ve always loved to do and I look forward to many more years.”