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Francesca's Letter

Last Wednesday, I read a moving letter on the air from Francesca Martinez when I inducted her family into the Sousalarm Club. So many of you responded to her heartfelt message, and asked if you could read it online, that we have posted it here (see below), with Ms. Martinez's consent. It's a poignant reminder of how transcendent the power of music can be, and of why this work, this station, and this art form matter so much.

All of us at WRTI work here for a variety of reasons including the music, public service, a fascination with radio, and the belief that art has the power to positively change lives.?? In our daily work, it's easy to wander from what got us into this business. But every once in a while, a listener (like Francesca) reminds us of what ignited our passion to be here  - and exactly what keeps us coming back every day. Last Wednesday, May 28th was such a day.

To Francesca Martinez, my personal thanks for the reminder of why I love so much to be on this shared journey with you and all of our listeners. And thank you for allowing me to share it with the rest of our community.  --Gregg Whiteside

Dear Gregg,

My name is Francesca Martinez, and I’ve have been listening to WRTI since I was 12 years old. And 22 years later, with a family of five (myself, my fiancee, and my three children, ages 13, 3, and 2), we cannot seem to get through the day without your station.

WRTI is always on the radio, we never switch to another station, and the radio is never turned off. My two-year-old Patrick will not take his nap unless WRTI is on. We have WRTI on at home and in the car, on our laptop, computer, and cell phones. My 13-year-old Allianna loves the Stardate program in the morning before school so much, that I now realize she purposely waits until the last minute to leave for school, just to listen to it. Thank goodness we live a few blocks away from her school.

My three-year-old Elizabeth, at the age of five months, began to sing every time opera was playing. Now she sings to every song, whether she knows the words or not.

My fiance Patrick fell in love with WRTI about five years ago, when I introduced him to it. You were playing Pachelbel, he stopped what he was doing, closed his eyes, and began to conduct in the air. When the song was done he had tears in his eyes. He didn't know I was watching. After the song, I said "this is a really good radio station, you should listen to it." He then said, "I’m a man, I'm about football and that's it." But five years later, he speaks about WRTI as if WRTI is a person that he's in love with. And l love it!

I have MS, and whenever I get a chance to stop and lose myself in this station I feel like I'm floating on clouds. WRTI has helped me with my temporary relapses and much more. With one of my relapses, I had to put my little ones in their crib while I laid in bed because I was losing feeling in my whole body. I laid down and my favorite song, Carmen, came on. My daughter Elizabeth, was two at that time and asked, "Mommy Kay, kay mommy?" I said, "Yes mommy is ok.” Elizabeth asked, "Mommy, get me ice cream?"  I didn't answer.  Then she added a please. I told her let me listen to the music and then I'll get it. She said ok. Next thing I know she's laying next to me caressing my hair and trying to sing Carmen. Thank goodness it was in French and she doesn't know the story behind Carmen.

I could sit here and tell you how WRTI has touched my life and my family's life, and how it saved me as a child...but you would be reading my emails for years. So I thank you for reading this email. And we deeply thank you and all WRTI employees, and all of those that keep WRTI up and running. I say this from my heart and soul. I thank all of you for helping me live and love life.
--Francesca Martinez, Abington, PA


Gregg was the host of WRTI's morning drive show from 2012 until his retirement from WRTI in January, 2021. He began producing and hosting The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcasts in 2013, joining the Orchestra in Hong Kong for the first-ever live international radio broadcasts from that island in 2016, and in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for two historic broadcasts in 2018. You can still hear Gregg as host of the Orchestra broadcasts every Sunday and Monday on WRTI.