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Classical Host Gregg Whiteside Bids Farewell To WRTI

Gregg Whiteside at work in the WRTI studio.

Those of you accustomed to 6 AM reports on the Eagles or Sixers, or waking up to the Sousalarm, know that our colleague and friend Gregg Whiteside has stepped away from the mic.

Gregg’s sustained effort to keep us company every morning, especially during this very difficult past year, is an exhausting achievement that is the hallmark of his career—doing whatever it takes to keep us entertained, informed, and engaged no matter what.

His service and leadership in making our mornings and Sunday afternoons some of the best in radio have earned him this retirement and our thanks. And while we will miss hearing him deliver the precise time of sunrise and sunset as only he can, we take heart in knowing that he can finally enjoy that sunrise or sunset from wherever his travels take him.

We thought it only fitting that we let Gregg have the last word...

Bill Johnson, WRTI General Manager

My Dear Radio Friends,

Many have been the enjoyable hours we have spent together over the past many years, listening to great music, and keeping each other company, through good times and bad.

Though I cannot deny that the thought of retirement has occurred to me a few times in the recent past, I always banished the thought because I knew how much I would miss you. The connection to you was very real to me, and I felt a great responsibility to be there for you each and every morning.

You have heard me, I’m sure, make reference to the many places in the world I have lived and travelled. My wife Hyon and I, as a couple of early twenty-somethings, lived and worked our way around the world, never knowing what the future would hold when we returned to the United States in 1973. And this Tuesday, January 26th, we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.

I can hardly believe that all but 10 years of my adult life have been spent working in radio studios—22 years in New York City, 17 years here in Philadelphia. It has gone by in a blur. And it is not something that is easy to walk away from.

But it has been a wonderful run, with many firsts along the way, from the small part I played in bringing Philadelphia Orchestra broadcasts back to the airwaves, to live broadcasts from Hong Kong, Vienna, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, to live broadcasts of the MLK Day tribute from Girard College, to live New Year's Eve concerts with The Philadelphia Orchestra, to the hundreds of Sousalarm inductions (and over one thousand certificates I printed and signed!), to our Breakfast with Bach each weekday morning.

And through it all, I felt your palpable presence. The support, encouragement, and affection you showed me I shall not only never forget, but shall carry with me for the rest of my days.

Also never to be forgotten are my incredible colleagues and friends at WRTI. With each and every one, it has been an honor and pleasure to work. There is no more talented and dedicated staff in the business, and WRTI is in good hands going forward. I shall miss my colleagues and friends very much.

It has been a tough year for us all, but I truly believe that things will get better. I am confident. We will all come through this, and better times lie ahead.

For now, however, the mountains that Hyon and I used to climb are calling me back! While we are still healthy and physically fit, Wanderlust has been reborn in us (if it ever went away), and I feel that the time has finally come to hang up my headphones, and begin the next chapter of my life.

Wish me well, dear friends. In a very important way, you will still—and always—be with me!