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New England Public Media adds local radio personality Monte Belmonte

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New radio show and podcast will celebrate the life and local community of western Massachusetts

Jan. 5, 2023, Springfield, Mass. — New England Public Media has hired local radio personality Monte Belmonte as host and executive producer of a new radio show and podcast celebrating life in western Massachusetts. Belmonte comes to New England Public Media (NEPM) from 93.9 The River/WRSI, where he’s hosted the popular “Mornings with Monte” since 2006. The new show and podcast will launch later this winter.

“When you listen to Monte Belmonte, you hear not only a great host with a devotion to his craft, but also a person who is committed to building and bolstering his community.” said NEPM President Matt Abramovitz, who came to NEPM in February 2022. “Sharing the unique voices and stories of our region and using the airwaves for the common good is what public media is all about. We are excited to have Monte bring his enthusiasm and love of western Massachusetts to NEPM each day.”

Belmonte will be joined by Kaliis Smith, who also comes to NEPM from The River where she hosted weekday evenings and was a regular guest on “Mornings with Monte.” Smith will be the show’s digital producer and will join Belmonte on air. Belmonte plans to bring some of his regular guests and popular segments to the live, daily program, along with new segments and opportunity for regular audience call-ins. The show will be available as a podcast and on YouTube. Belmonte will also have a presence at NEPM events and other station initiatives.

“I’ve been a huge fan of New England Public Media since I moved west of Worcester 20 years ago,” said Belmonte. “The station’s trusted reputation and broad reach was a big draw for me, as was the opportunity to work alongside people I’ve known and admired for years. I’m excited to get to work building a new show that’s all about celebrating what’s good about living here, meeting interesting neighbors and being a better community because of it.”

Over the past six months, NEPM conducted a local market listening tour, gathering people together in focus groups, at live events, and through a phone survey to understand how public media could better serve western Massachusetts. The results of the tour underscored the desire among listeners for additional programming about the local community.

“Monte will help us to meet the expressed desire of our audience for additional local content,” said Tony Dunne, NEPM’s director of content and longtime executive producer of the TV show “Connecting Point,” who will lead the team. “This new show will be a space where you and your friends and neighbors can get together and share your love of life here in western Mass. I can’t think of anyone better to take us on this journey than Monte. He has a gift for connecting us all through his humor, wit, and compassion.”

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MORE ABOUT MONTE BELMONTE AND KALIIS SMITH

Christopher “Monte'' Belmonte was born and raised in Massachusetts and has been a radio host in western Massachusetts for the last twenty years; the last seventeen of them as host of “Mornings with Monte” on The River, 93.9/WRSI. During his time as host of “Mornings with Monte,” he developed several local fundraising campaigns, including the annual pre-thanksgiving “Monte’s March” for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Monte also serves as the volunteer president of the board of the nonprofit Shea Theater Arts Center in his hometown of Great Falls (Turners Falls). He is married to Smith College Spanish lecturer Melissa Belmonte, and has three incredibly creative kids, Atticus, Enzo and Pax.

Kaliis Smith is a radio host and producer, most recently at The River 93.9/WRSI where she appeared on “Mornings with Monte” for the Nerdwatch segment and hosted weekday evenings. A guitarist, she’s in several local bands including Ex-Temper, The Brass, and Soul Magnets, and is the author of “Finger and Thumb.” “Sir Morien,” a children’s book co-written with New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, is due out in 2023. Kaliis is originally from Roxbury, and now lives in Springfield.

ABOUT NEW ENGLAND PUBLIC MEDIA

New England Public Media is a community-supported, independent non-profit organization based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Through a deep commitment to independent local journalism, trusted educational content, inspired cultural offerings, and civic engagement, NEPM endeavors to share new voices and inspire new conversations. It provides audiences with a broad array of local and national programs across all media —TV, radio, online, and mobile, including PBS and NPR programs as well as locally produced series, podcasts and specials. Its four digital TV channels, and two radio networks present news, jazz and classical music, documentaries, talk, drama, plus cultural and educational programming.

For more information, visit nepm.org or follow NEPM on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

MEDIA CONTACT

Vanessa Cerillo
Senior Director, Marketing, Communications and Events
New England Public Media
413-735-6605
vanessa_cerillo@nepm.org