Home > Diary, Thoughts > Rita Houston Sept. 28, 1961-December 15, 2020

Rita Houston Sept. 28, 1961-December 15, 2020

December 15th, 2020 Leave a comment Go to comments

I got back from my first road trip in quite a while yesterday. I had four shows at the Vogel in Red Banks and it was indeed a wonderful moment to be able to again do what it is that I have done for so long… play for people. Home last night sheltering in place in our Athens house while I waited for my Coved-19 test today… so far so good.

I’m driving to the auto parts store to get windshield wipers for my truck and Vanessa called me to tell me that Rita Houston from WFUV just passed today. This sad news touched me in a profound way. I had known Rita for many years. Artists such as myself are fortunate to have deejays such as Rita for a friend. We didn’t hang. It wasn’t that kind of a friendship but every time I would see at WFUV or less often at a gig, she was an old friend.

Memory sometimes washes me like smoke from a campfire. It surrounds you in an untouchable, diaphanous kind of way. Some things stick to your clothes and others drift to the next camp site. I am fortunate that most of the people who surround me are younger than me. That forces me to look forward more than backwards although indeed, there is more behind me than there is in front of me.

Old friends pass and the world becomes a little smaller. They can never be replaced. Smaller though the world might seem today, the road ahead is still inviting.

Rita was such a part of my time. She was a beacon in the dark continent of modern media. It seems as if my family is just a little smaller.

There’s sure to be a great play list in heaven today!

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  1. richard
    December 15th, 2020 at 21:55 | #1

    hi jorma,just found out my old friend from past is gone.he would pull out guitars and amps and say try this.hard to miss in early 70;s ok winter appears to b here..

  2. Joey Hudoklin
    December 15th, 2020 at 22:46 | #2

    I’m happy she was in your life. Sounds like her impact was considerable.
    My sincere condolences Jorma.

  3. Richard K
    December 16th, 2020 at 07:51 | #3

    So sorry to hear about Rita..FUV is my fav station here in NY..Rita made it so much better..May She Rest In Peace..
    Funny how I got turned on to FUV..Was on the job back in the early 90s and Water Song was on the radio and I said to a friend what station is this thats plays such great music and of course FUV..

  4. Ed
    December 16th, 2020 at 10:23 | #4

    As long as we’re on this topic…I don’t want to bum anybody out but I did want to relate this.
    My sister and my brother and I buried our Mom yesterday. She had a wonderful 95 years but covid got her.
    I’m not one to go public with personal matters, but for some reason I found myself wanting to post here. And then I realized why.
    I don’t know any of you personally, but this community – Jorma, Vanessa, the whole crew, and everyone who comments on this blog and tunes in every Saturday night – has really become a kind of extended family in these times we’re living in.
    So I just wanted to thank you all. Every one of you. You’ve been a beacon of light in dark days.

  5. Bob S
    December 16th, 2020 at 11:31 | #5

    @Ed & @Jorma: I’m sorry for both of your losses.

    Ed – I see it the same way as you do. I find myself reading some horrifying news article of the day, until I almost instinctively meander back to this site to recenter myself. It’s good for the soul.

    Peace to all…

  6. carey georga
    December 16th, 2020 at 13:13 | #6

    Ed hits nail on head. Jorma’s musings have a way of centering things. His prose is that of an artist, to my way of thinking. Artists’ expressions have a way of making us pause and look from a different perspective. The perspective I find here always projects peace. A jewel of a little island, this place.

  7. Brian Doyle
    December 16th, 2020 at 21:13 | #7

    I used to listen to WFUV on headphones in bed at night in the early 80’s because they took requests and specialized in off tracks and off groups in an eclectic mix of rock…A good college station out of Fordham University in the Bronx…

  8. Brendan Carroll
    December 17th, 2020 at 01:13 | #8

    That’s sad about Rita Houston. I’ve been out of broadcast range a few years and found other sources. She’ll be missed not only by whole wide world and city-folk artists and listeners, but listeners of Celtic and big band, which are weekend fare. There was a polka hour and German program (I think), but I don’t know if she was able to keep them on air. Celtic programming had become unimaginative prior to her arrival, compared to what it has been in 70’s and 80’s, anyway. She left a legacy I hope her survivors are able to find solace in, when they can.
    Thanks, Rita.

  9. Brendan Carroll
    December 17th, 2020 at 01:44 | #9

    I’m sorry for your loss, Ed. It’s going on two years since we lost our dear mother. The bereavement meetings were a great help for me. I could try to focus a bit between. Then a day or two before the bi-monthly meeting again remember she’s really gone. I had 1 moving violation in 25 years, and 3 in six months after.

  10. eaglesteve
    December 17th, 2020 at 09:50 | #10

    Ed and Jorma, I’m sorry for your loss.

  11. mikie
  12. tmomas meyer
    December 19th, 2020 at 13:59 | #12

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JORMA! Dont forget the CHRISTMAS RULE. TOM from jackson n.j.

  13. Brian Doyle
    December 19th, 2020 at 19:46 | #13

    Jorma’s 80th birthday quarantine show tonight at 8pm on the Fur Peace Ranch You Tube channel…

  14. bh
    December 24th, 2020 at 00:35 | #14

    FUV brings me back home just like hearing of Pete Fornatele’s Mixed Bag on Sundays and once a year live at the old Lone Star Cafe, and the original WLIR with Joe Bonadonna and Earle Bailey and the Calderone. I sat on the floor in the booth with Earle a number of times when I was young circa 1975.

    Every day these days the world is a much smaller place.

    80 years done gone.

    Happy birthday and thanks for the music.

    Please come to Houston after the vaccine. You haven’t been here in forever. Not fair.

    stuck inside of Houston with the NY blues again,
    bh

  15. Jack Blind
    December 24th, 2020 at 11:16 | #15

    I listen to WFUV all the time while driving in NJ. Best music in the metro area. May Rita put together and fine playlist in Heaven.

  16. Gene McG
    January 4th, 2021 at 23:30 | #16

    Rita Huston’s passing was a shock. I remember when she first started as a DJ at ‘FUV in the early 90’s. Rita is the main reason that small, local college radio station has become what it is today.