New England Public Media adds new daily radio show beginning Feb. 22
Feb. 15, 2023, SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A new kind of radio show is coming to New England Public Media. "The Fabulous 413" premieres Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. on 88.5 FM, and will be available on YouTube and as a podcast, and will repeat at 7 p.m. on the NEPM News Network. The weekday afternoon show is focused on the unique voices and stories of western Massachusetts. Listeners will learn about the people, culture and history all around us, while having fun and learning a little civic virtue in the process. It’s a kind of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" for grown-ups.
Longtime local radio personality Monte Belmonte will be the show’s host and executive producer. Belmonte joined NEPM from 93.9 The River in January. The team also includes digital producer and co-host Kaliis Smith, and technical producer Betsy Cortis. Tony Dunne, director of content for NEPM and executive producer of "Connecting Point," directs the show.
“We’re really excited to be a gathering place for daily conversations about what is going on in our backyard,” said Belmonte. “Western Mass. is filled with extraordinary people and places, history and happenings. We live in a fabulous place, and we can’t wait to start talking about it.”
As a precursor to the breadth and depth of conversations to come, the show’s first guests will be Gov. Maura Healey and GZA, aka the Genius, from the Wu-Tang Clan. Healey will reflect on her first trip to western Massachusetts, what made her choke up during her inaugural speech, and why she requested one particular performer to play her inaugural ball. GZA will talk about why he wanted to play chess in Greenfield as a way to reach out to his most ardent fans, and how Wu-Tang is now a living part of Black history.
NEPM spent last year conducting a listening tour of the region and its audience.
“We’ve learned that our community not only wants more trustworthy news and local journalism, but also more coverage of the things that make the people of western Massachusetts proud to live here,” said Matt Abramovitz, president of NEPM. “I’m confident that 'The Fabulous 413' will help us be an even greater service in the region.”
Weekday classical music programming on NEPM 88.5 will wrap up one hour earlier to accommodate "The Fabulous 413." Music is still an important part of NEPM’s DNA and most of the station’s broadcast day remains devoted to classical music. NEPM’s all-classical stream and HD channel will continue to broadcast 24/7 at nepm.org or at 88.5 HD-2.
“This program will be a first for NEPM — a virtual town square where you’ll not only hear from the change-makers and influencers, but also from your friends and neighbors,” said Dunne. “We’ll uncover the cool and interesting things going on right here that you might not know about, as well as spark lively discussion about life in western Massachusetts.”
"The Fabulous 413" welcomes the audience to get in touch at nepm.org/thefabulous413.
MEET THE TEAM
Christopher “Monte” Belmonte was born and raised in Massachusetts and has been a radio host in western Massachusetts for 20 years — the last 17 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 later this year. Kaliis is originally from Roxbury, and now lives in Springfield.
Tony Dunne is an Emmy Award-winning producer, documentary filmmaker, and journalist who has worked in both public and commercial media for over two decades. He is executive producer of NEPM’s "Connecting Point" and "As Schools Match Wits." A native of central Massachusetts, Tony lives with his family in the Berkshires.
Betsy Cortis is an audio engineer and the technical producer of "All Things Considered" at NEPM. She received her associate degree from Holyoke Community College in 2017. Betsy volunteers at Valley Free Radio WXOJ-LP 103.3FM, the community radio station in Northampton, maintaining operations and educating the public on media production. She is an avid fan of live music and enjoys spending time with her family and pets at her home in Belchertown.
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.