Posted March 3, 2008

WRTI-FM to create digital music library of its jazz, classical collection

John Coltrane’s musical legacy is about to be assured a place in the digital future.

And so will those of Miles Davis, Rachmaninoff and many of the artists and performers in WRTI-FM’s classical and jazz collections, thanks to a new $150,000 grant.

WRTI-FM’s jazz and classical music libraries will be transferred from their current individual compact discs to a central, searchable repository thanks to a grant from the Bucks County-based Argus Fund. This family-based fund provides money for music education and humanitarian issues.

Making the donation to bring WRTI’s vast musical holdings into the computer age and make them more accessible to listeners was something that the foundation was happy to do, said Mark Dibner, trustee of the Argus Fund.


“I support WRTI’s important role in the classical music and jazz radio world,” he said. “The station is positioned for growth by reaching more audiences, in more places, for less money than it does currently. WRTI is a public radio asset that must be preserved and maintained via all the platforms that music lovers use worldwide.”

Once the CDs are saved onto a series of computer hard drives, WRTI’s radio personalities will be able to access not only the songs themselves, but also information on the artist, the genre of music and other information, according to station officials.

With the advent of high-definition and internet radio, having a digitized collection will allow the station to maximize its offerings, said David Conant, WRTI’s executive director. He praised Dibner for his vision.

“This remarkable and visionary grant allows WRTI to do more with its music assets,” Conant said. “Listeners will be able to access complete music information from the station’s web site. Mr. Dibner believes in the potential and sustainability of WRTI — we are indebted to him.”

WRTI recently completed a successful membership drive in which the station was able to raise $230,000 and get 2,500 new or renewing members.

WRTI creating digital music library of its jazz, classical collection
Photo by Joseph V.Labolito/Temple University
When WRTI moved to its new home at 15th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue in 2004, staff members and students, such as intern Michelle Langley (above), moved, organized and reshelved the many compact discs in radio station’s library. A new grant will enable WRTI to transfer the digital files to a central, searchable repository.