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WRTI logo.png
CityPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Broadcast areaDelaware Valley
Frequency90.1 MHz (HD Radio)
SubchannelsHD2: Jazz/Classical
OwnerTemple University
First air date
1953 (originally carrier current 1948-53)
Call sign meaning
WRTI: Radio Training Institute[1]
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID65190
ERP7,700 watts
HAAT371 meters (1,217 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
40°02′30″N 75°14′10.1″W / 40.04167°N 75.236139°W / 40.04167; -75.236139 (WRTI)
Translator(s)See § Translators
Repeater(s)See § Simulcasts
Public license information
WebcastListen Live

WRTI (90.1 FM) is a non-commercial, public FM radio station licensed to serve Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a service of Temple University. The Temple University Board of Trustees holds the station's license. The broadcast tower used by the station is located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia at (40°02′30.1″N 75°14′10.1″W / 40.041694°N 75.236139°W / 40.041694; -75.236139).[3]


WRTI began in 1948 as an AM carrier current station. It was founded by John Roberts, professor emeritus of communications at Temple and long-time anchorman at WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV). He helped found the School of Communications and Theater at Temple. The call letters stood for "Radio Training Institute." In 1952, the station received an FM transmitter, receiving a full license to cover the FM facility in 1953. After years of serving as a student laboratory, WRTI-AM signed off for good in 1968. WRTI-FM switched from block programming to an all-jazz format in 1969. In late 1997, after Philadelphia's commercial classical music station, WFLN, changed formats, WRTI switched to a dual-format service, providing classical music from 6 AM to 6 PM, and jazz from 6 PM to 6 AM.[1]


WRTI is a music-intensive public radio service, broadcasting classical music during the day, and jazz at night.

The station features hosts Kevin Gordon, John T.K. Scherch, Bob Perkins, Melinda Whiting, Bob Craig, Maureen Malloy, Joe Patti, I. Robin "Bobbie" Booker, Courtney Blue, Rich Gunning, Mark Pinto, and Mike Bolton. Long-time jazz host Jeff Duperon died on June 17, 2019. He was 66. Mid-day classical music host Bliss Michelson died on March 14, 2021 due to complications from COVID-19 at the age of 71. Debra Lew Harder left the station on September 21, 2021, to become the host of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.[4]

After a long hiatus, WRTI, in 2013, resumed broadcasting full-length concerts by the Philadelphia Orchestra Sunday afternoon at 1 PM. Recorded each week at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall in Center City, this series brings the distinctive sound of the "Fabulous Philadelphians" in performance back to the Delaware Valley airwaves.

WRTI presents in-concert performances of South Jersey's Symphony In C Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, The Crossing and others, as well as opera performances from the Academy of Vocal Arts, OperaDelaware and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

WRTI also presents jazz-based special programming. Philly-market radio veteran Bob Craig hosts Voices in Jazz, Voices in Big Band Jazz and Big Band Jazz every Sunday afternoon from 3 PM until 7 PM, spread across both WRTI's digital HD2 and analog FM services. Sunday Jazz Brunch with Bob Perkins airs from 9 AM until 1 PM. Friday evenings at 10 PM, veteran WRTI jazz host J. Michael Harrison presents The Bridge, exploring the merging platforms of popular music and jazz. Each Friday at 6 PM, there's Nouveau Jazz Showcase, with host Courtney Blue. The program features all current and upcoming music in the jazz genre and beyond. Saturday night at 7 PM, Jukebox Jazz features jazz cover pieces of popular music and songs that made the Top-40 charts. El Viaje hosted by David Ortiz, airs Saturday night at 9 PM and focuses on Latin Jazz, Mambo and Salsa.

WRTI is a network affiliate of NPR, PRI and APM, airing news and arts programming from these networks. Programs include NPR's Newscast Service, From The Top, and SymphonyCast. WRTI is also an affiliate of the WFMT Radio Network, broadcasting a wide range of programming from this Chicago-based syndicator including concert broadcasts from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, the Deutsche Welle Festival Concert series, and many more programs and concert series on both the analog FM service and the digital HD2 service.

WRTI is also an affiliate of the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera Radio Network, airing the Met's Saturday Matinee performances at 1 PM live from December through May each year. In the Met's off-season, WRTI broadcasts the American Opera Series from the WFMT Radio Network. This series features performances by the San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston Grand Operas, as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicago. With these series, WRTI broadcasts a full-length opera every Saturday afternoon. WRTI's Mark Pinto hosts Overture, an opera "pre-game" of sorts, playing opera-based music, Saturday at 12-noon, just before the Saturday Opera Broadcast.

WRTI was known for several popular arts and culture based shows over the years. The multi-award-winning CrossOver, hosted by former classical host Jill Pasternak, explored music as "the universal language." The show, which presented music and conversation with some of the world's greatest artists and personalities, focused not only on classical and jazz, but also music in the periphery of those two art forms. Featured have been Michel Legrand, Rick Braun, Byron Janis, Billy Joel, Eric Whitacre, Marvin Hamlisch, Michael Feinstein, Louis Lortie, Herbie Hancock, Yolanda Kondonassis, Branford Marsalis, Michael Buble′ and many more. The show was produced from 1998 until Ms. Pasternak's retirement in 2015. Dr. Jack Buerkle, a member of the Temple University faculty and jazz expert, was co-host until his retirement in 2003.

The award-winning Creatively Speaking general-arts segments featured contributors Jim Cotter, David Patrick Stearns and Susan Lewis among others. Mr. Cotter formerly headed WRTI's Arts and Culture desk. The forerunner of these features was a 30-minute Saturday morning arts magazine show, also called Creatively Speaking, which was cancelled in early 2013. It was felt that splitting up the show in segments and spreading them throughout the broadcast day and week would better serve the audience. The features ended in 2018.

Discoveries From the Fleisher Collection, first aired in 2001, was hosted by Kile Smith, former curator of the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at the Free Library of Philadelphia, the largest lending library of orchestral performance material in the world, and former WRTI classical host and program director, Jack Moore. The program featured recordings of orchestral scores and music housed at the Fleisher Collection. The program, a co-production of the Fleisher Collection and WRTI, was cancelled in 2018.

The Wanamaker Organ Hour, first aired in 2005, featured recordings of performances by Macy's Grand Court Organist Peter Richard Conte and various guests. The Wanamaker Organ is housed in Macy's Center City Philadelphia department store and is the largest musical instrument in the world. The program was co-produced by the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ and WRTI, and was an outgrowth of a segment, and later a live remote broadcast, on the CrossOver program. The Friends organization is responsible for the restoration and upkeep of this grand instrument. The show ended in 2017 when funding to the Friends was cut.

Along with its regular analog FM signal, WRTI also broadcasts using HD Radio.[5] Two WRTI network stations (WRTI and WRTJ) broadcast HD2 programming as well.[6] Known as "WRTI-HD2," this auxiliary service broadcasts Jazz in the daytime and Classical music at night, opposite the station's analog/HD1 signal, thus providing a full 24 hours of classical and jazz programming for those with HD Radio receivers. The programming of both WRTI and WRTI-HD2 also comprises two separate web audio streams. The "All-Classical" stream presents WRTI's daytime programming, switching to WRTI-HD2's programming at night. The "All-Jazz" stream broadcasts WRTI-HD2's daytime programming, switching to WRTI's analog/HD1 signal at night. The web streams have proven popular with those who do not have an HD Radio receiver or are not within the coverage area of WRTI and WRTJ.


WRTI fronts a network of six full-powered repeater stations. Combined with the main WRTI signal and numerous low-powered translators, their footprint covers much of eastern Pennsylvania, as well as most of Delaware and the southern half of New Jersey.

Call sign Frequency City of license State Facility ID Class ERP
(m (ft))
Transmitter coordinates Call sign assigned Notes
WRTX 91.7 FM[a] Dover Delaware 65181 A 580 96 m (315 ft) 39°12′3.4″N 75°33′53.7″W / 39.200944°N 75.564917°W / 39.200944; -75.564917 (WRTX) July 12, 1991[7]
WRTQ 91.3 FM[a] Ocean City New Jersey 65176 B1 13,500 vert
1,360 horiz
120 m (390 ft) 39°19′14.4″N 74°46′16.6″W / 39.320667°N 74.771278°W / 39.320667; -74.771278 (WRTQ) May 5, 1993[8] Serves Atlantic City
WRTJ 89.3 FM[a] Coatesville Pennsylvania 90653 A 460 vert
1 horiz
87.5 m (287 ft) 40°01′26.4″N 75°48′46.8″W / 40.024000°N 75.813000°W / 40.024000; -75.813000 (WRTJ) July 11, 2007[9] Serves Chester County
WRTL 90.7 FM[a] Ephrata Pennsylvania 65177 A 650 vert
1 horiz
265 m (869 ft) 40°19′22.3″N 76°11′50.8″W / 40.322861°N 76.197444°W / 40.322861; -76.197444 (WRTL) March 15, 1999[10] Serves Lancaster and Lebanon
WRTY 91.1 FM[a] Jackson Township Pennsylvania 65178 B1 3,500 264 m (866 ft) 41°02′40.3″N 75°22′43.6″W / 41.044528°N 75.378778°W / 41.044528; -75.378778 (WRTY) August 20, 1990[11] Serves Mount Pocono
WJAZ[b] 91.7 FM[a] Summerdale Pennsylvania 65184 A 1,000 (analog)
100 (digital)[13]
214 m (702 ft) 40°18′20.3″N 77°0′25.9″W / 40.305639°N 77.007194°W / 40.305639; -77.007194 (WJAZ) July 27, 1990[14] Serves Harrisburg


  1. ^ a b c d e f Transmits in HD Radio
  2. ^ A radio station with the call sign WJAZ is mentioned in the song "The Nightfly" on Donald Fagen's 1982 album The Nightfly.[12]


Three full-power stations have translators that are licensed to simulcast the programming of their respective stations.

Call sign Frequency
City of license State Facility ID Rebroadcasts
W299BH 107.7 Marshallton Delaware 142393 WRTI
W246AA 97.1 Allentown Pennsylvania 65183 WRTI
W214AL 90.7 Denver Pennsylvania 65193 WRTI
W221DG 92.1 Exton Pennsylvania 142298 WRTI
W256AB 99.1 Pottsville Pennsylvania 65179 WRTY
W249AT 97.7 Reading Pennsylvania 65182 WRTI
W291AP 106.1 Scranton Pennsylvania 65180 WRTY
W235AA 94.9 Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania 65185 WRTY
W259BU 99.7 York Pennsylvania 65187 WJAZ

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About WRTI". WRTI. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  2. ^ Most station breaks include "This is WRTI, Your Classical and Jazz Station"
  3. ^ "FM Query Results for WRTI". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  4. ^ Metropolitan Opera Names New Radio Host, operawire.com, by Francisco Salazar, September 21, 2021
  5. ^ "HD Radio FAQ". wrti.org. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  6. ^ https://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=16 HD Radio Guide for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  7. ^ "WRTX Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  8. ^ "WRTQ Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  9. ^ "WRTJ Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  10. ^ "WRTL Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  11. ^ "WRTY Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  12. ^ "Steely Dan - Releases - The Nightfly". Official Steely Dan. Retrieved June 5, 2021.
  13. ^ "Engineering STA, Attachment 1 "Engineering Statement" [WJAZ]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. October 28, 2010. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  14. ^ "WJAZ Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau. Retrieved May 28, 2013.

External links[edit]