With a cascade of blonde waves, bright pink pants, a set of Barbie doll headphones, and an unstoppable dedication to her work, Barbi Jo DiMaria is part action figure, part fashion doll, and all heart. Tune into 92 PRO-FM any weeknight from 7pm to midnight and between the pulsating beat of pop music you’ll hear her enthusiastic voice – dishing on celebrity gossip between songs in a rapid-fire lilt that’s more melodic than straight talk. If she sounds almost giddy to be on the air, it’s because she is. Barbi Jo has her “pinch-me” dream job of hosting The Barbi Jo Show, a gig years in the making. “It’s still a surreal feeling when I open the mic to my own show on the station I grew up listening to,” she says.
The popular station known for playing Top 40 hits turns 47 this year, which makes the fact that Barbi Jo is the second female in PRO-FM history to take on the night show all the more impressive. In addition to hosting her very own show, for 17 years the laser-focused Barbi
Jo also serves as the Director of Marketing and Promotions. “Branding the station in our community is one big nonstop crazy mess of fun! Planning memorable contests and events for our listeners and clients is fulfilling. There’s no better feeling than to see our ideas come to life and that’s what sets PRO-FM apart from other stations,” says Barbi Jo, who has not only planned events that helped launch the careers of performers like Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, and Rihanna, she’s coordinated promotional efforts for Hasbro Children’s Hospital Radiothons, the station’s own 12 Days of Christmas, and many more.
Armed with a degree in Journalism Communications from Salve Regina University, this summa cum laude whirl of fuschia worked her way up in the business taking various internships in broadcast and print – including Providence Monthly. “I always had aspirations to work in ‘infotainment’ – blending my passion for music and pop culture but it wasn’t until interning with the Giovanni & Kim in the Morning show that I fell for radio.”
So what’s it like growing up as the namesake of an iconic doll? “Make no mistake, I’m a Barbi Girl living in my own world!” says Barbi Jo. “Yes, I’m blonde, bling-y and bubbly, but I’m true to myself and I’m not going to sacrifice my identity to fit in or for anyone. I’ve always been underestimated and undervalued, giving me the fire to prove people wrong.”
Due to the pandemic, Barbi Jo’s on-air work has mostly home-casting from her bedroom with the occasional live broadcast to support small business. No matter the setting, she takes the responsibility of her reach very seriously. “I realize I’m in a position of power to inspire and help and I want our listeners to know I’m alongside them. What’s so great about live, local radio is not just memorable content or the latest pop hit stuck in your head, but the companionship. Finding comfort in listening to your local personality that’s your escape and bright spot in your day.”
Scooting up to the mic at her home studio set-up, coffee in one hand, Barbi Jo can’t help but grin. “There’s no shortage of determination within me. I learned long ago it’s not about proving people wrong, it’s about proving to myself I can achieve my dreams. Ultimately, it’s about being the best version of myself and inspiring other females to be their best version,” she says. “I think about this when I open the mic on 92 PRO-FM. I hope to set a good example for the next generation of leading ladies.”
1502 Wampanoag Trail, East Providence • 433-4200 • 92ProFM.com