Our annual countdown of the people, music, ideas, and news that impacted the year. Rita Houston tops the list…
By Paul Marszalek
#1) Rita Houston
“Is that your plus one?” Rita Houston said to 22 year old me as a picture of my girlfriend accidentally popped up on my cell phone screen while I was scrolling through my horse pictures for her…
“It’s ok to talk about it,” I remember her telling me. She could immediately tell that I was uneasy with people in the music business knowing I was gay…
“I don’t know what it’s like where you’re from but this is NYC…we’re going lesbian bar karaoke singing right now. Do a shot of tequila and get your coat.” -Brandi Carlile
Of the many things written about Rita Houston after her passing in December, these words from her friend Brandi Carlile described her best.
Certainly she will be remembered professionally for her programming skills and her ability to spot talent – she had a sixth sense for both.
More, she’ll be remembered for how she connected with people. Individually. Even over the air.
Moving forward, we’d do well to reflect, in certain situations, and ask WWRD? “What would Rita do?”
Thanks for honoring the queen of Triple A radio Paul. WWRD in 2021? At WFUV, continuing to follow the new audience-focused strategy that vaulted their ratings to all-time highs while continuing to follow her gut instincts with all things creative including taking chances on new artists. At home and away, continuing to love Laura, her dogs, her family and her friends. She’s kicking ass and taking names…and giving everyone bear hugs…wherever she is now.