Broadcast journalism lost an important voice this week with the passing of Bill Rappleye at the age of 66, following his battle with cancer. The senior correspondent and co-host of Rhode Island PBS Weekly, Bill was a political reporter at NBC10 for nearly 18 years. 

“Exactly one year ago today, we announced Bill Rappleye had joined Rhode Island PBS to play a pivotal role in Rhode Island PBS Weekly. We mourn this profound personal and professional loss,” said David W. Piccerelli, president of WSBE Rhode Island PBS in a statement provided to What’s Up Newp. “Bill had an incredible passion for his profession and was a well-respected journalist known for his integrity. Our deepest condolences go out to Bill’s family. We share their sadness, as Bill was an important member of our Rhode Island PBS family.”

A familiar face around the Rhode Island State House for many years as a political reporter, Rappleye was recognized for his tenacity in getting the story, balanced with insight and empathy. As a seasoned journalist, Bill Rappleye delivered authentic and unfiltered news to audiences in Southern New England for more than 30 years. With positions in New York and Boston early in his career, Bill returned to his native Rhode Island in 2002 and began reporting for WJAR NBC 10, where he spent close to 18 years as a political reporter. For 16 of those years, Bill hosted 10 News Conference. His work has garnered numerous Associated Press awards, a national award from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, and a regional Emmy.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of Bill’s passing today,” said Kim Keough, director of Production at Rhode Island PBS. “He was a good friend and colleague, a true journalist. But most importantly, he was an amazing father to his daughters. I will never forget a conversation we had at a field hockey game; I told him about this new broadcast we were developing and asked if he knew a good reporter. I am forever grateful my phone rang a few weeks later, and it was Rapp,” she said.

“My heart sank when I heard that Bill Rappleye had passed away today,” said Barbara Dury, executive producer of Rhode Island PBS Weekly. “Rapp, as he has been so fondly known for most of his career, was a tenacious and dogged journalist and it has been a great  honor to have had the opportunity to work with him,” Dury said. “Bill had been ill for several months – he faced it with both courage and grace. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and with his five beautiful daughters or, as Bill would say so often to me, ‘all my special girls.’”

No matter how busy Rappleye was, he always took the time out of their day to share kind words and support to all of us here at What’s Up Newp. We will certainly miss his reporting, experience, and support.

Bill Rappleye, a Barrington resident, leaves five daughters. Calling hours and funeral arrangements will be announced by the Rappleye family.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).