Rita Houston, New York Metropolis radio mainstay, lifeless at 59

New York radio mainstay Rita Houston, who served as program director and on-air presenter at Fordham University’s WFUV, died on Tuesday (December 15) after a six-year battle with cancer. Houston stepped down from her role at WFUV earlier this month to spend time with her family. She was 59 years old.

Houston was the program director for the New York City public radio station for more than 25 years. She first joined WFUV in 1994 from Westchester, New York’s WXPS, where she hosted the Starlight Express program. After a stint as a midday DJ, she started the Friday night show The Whole Wide World, providing a platform for her to highlight new artists from around the world. As a renowned flavor maker with an oversized presence in the New York live music scene, she would compose the station’s programming from mostly folk and Americana to incorporate modern sounds with a more global perspective.

In a statement posted on the station’s website, Chuck Singleton, general manager of the WFUV said:

Rita was the northern star of the WFUV sound and its public service and was the musical director of the station for decades. She was a New York original, a pioneering woman of extraordinary talent who forged a unique style behind the microphone – informed and informal, intimate, warm, sincere. But also one of enormous joy.

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