Just as the classical fans overwhelmingly expressed appreciation for the addition of classical music, the jazz fans angrily wrote about Temple's utter betrayal of their long time supporters. The letters continually questioned the lack of outreach to the community, reminded Temple of the jazz fan's longtime faithfulness in building Temple's radio reach outside of the city, lamented about what "public" radio really means, asked for donation refunds because they felt Temple had committed fraud during the Spring fundraiser, expressed outrage of the treatment of the students at the station, and like the classical fans concerning the demise of WFLN, told tales of deep sadness over their loss.
Some of the responses were written on fundraising letters that had been sent out by the station to the membership to solicit funds. Of the 47 letters written on returned Temple fundraising letters, only two were positive toward the format change. One letter writer from Pottsville crossed out all the references to Jazz-FM's jazz programs on the form letter and sent it back saying "No jazz-No support" drawing a big arrow pointing to the former Jazz-FM logo (a tenor saxophone) and wrote: "I supported [the logo] not classical." One fundraising letter sent out by the station on August 27, 1997 was returned from a Springfield man who had crossed out portions of the text below which are italicized.
He asked for his money back and added, "I renewed my membership in the spring drive by calling in. I am extremely upset by the merger of RTI and classical music." Another member returned the same letter saying, "I usually give $200 however your new classical format stinks-here is my new amount: $1." Another fundraising letter was sent out after the format change on October 1, 1997 with the text changed to reflect the addition of classical, but with the old jazz logo still in place. One part of the text said, " Please accept our thanks for your support in the past year." A man from Exton circled "our thanks" and then wrote: "Your ‘thanks' was demonstrated by not fulfilling your promise of total jazz programming."
One long letter from a woman in Hershey touched on the betrayal aspect of Temple's move and questioned the racial politics of the situation:
A chiropractor from Morrisville wrote:
Many of the jazz letter writers, both black and white, focused on the racial overtones of the decision and many white writers felt the compulsion to mention in their letters that they were white, giving the impression that they believed the University had made their decision by segregating the music itself: jazz for blacks, classical for whites. They also felt it was necessary to reveal their socio-economic class, probably for the same reasons. It seemed the writers were trying to fit themselves into a market research demographic to convince Temple to do the right thing. One woman faxed in her protest over the division of the airtime between classical and jazz, then added,
One male writer from Philadelphia simply faxed, "Whose blood, whose fields?!" referring to Wynton Marsalis' jazz piece, Blood on the Fields, that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, the first time in history that a jazz composition was considered legitimate enough to win by the powers-that-be. Another writer from Springfield faxed that "Apartheid has come to Philadelphia: Radio Apartheid, that is," and echoed many other writers about the time slots given to classical music and the racial stereotypes imbedded in it.
A writer from Chester Heights delved into the economic impact of the decision on local jazz artists in town as well as the NPR issue:
A classical musician from Abington wrote that although he prefers classical music, he recognized the unfairness of Temple's decision (its detrimental impact on young listeners and the jazz community), but mirrored the rich white likes classical/poor black likes jazz dichotomy.
What this writer alludes to is that he understands an NPR station to be a refuge from demographically marketed programming, that money shouldn't be the determining factor of formats, that jazz needs to be free of the market place, that when a station says they are "listener supported" that's what they really mean. Most of the letter writers adhered to that same perception. A woman from Flourtown who owns her own communications business wrote:
A wife and mother from Analomink said, "I feel betrayed, I made my pledge, in fact my pledge was probably not in my budget, but as my husband pointed out, we listen to the station constantly, it was the right thing to do. After all, it is PUBLIC radio, I don't recall being surveyed about this change." One vice president of a company in Langhorne who said he was very familiar with the broadcasting business wrote
One note sent by a Philadelphia man on a pledge fulfillment form that stated he, the subscriber, had pledged $75 during the Spring pledge drive for said,
Many letter writers threw the promotional phrase that WRTI had cultivated over the years, "Your JAZZ-FM," back in Temple's face, composing varying versions of "what happened to MY Jazz-FM?" Temple University had represented the station and the listeners as a "family" and most members felt exactly that way and it was reflected in their letters. The membership had expected, at the very least, to be asked One woman from Hatfield said that, "For the many years that I listened to and supported WRTI, I truly believed that it was as advertised, "Your member-supported JAZZ-FM."
There wasn't one letter writer that addressed the NPR issue at WRTI who was aware that "public" radio had drifted dramatically over the years from its avowed mission: giving voice to people or ideas that didn't have much opportunity to be heard to giving a voice to people or ideas that have a great many opportunities to be heard, namely the political ideas and musical choices of the establishment.
Another pervasive complaint in the letters against the format change was that the addition of classical music meant a duplication of services for many people living within the frequency range from Ocean City to Harrisburg which meant that they had plenty of classical stations to choose from, but no jazz at all. An Allentown man wrote directly to Peter Liacouras:
Another writer from Princeton echoed the same theme.
A couple who regularly listened to Temple's repeater signal in Harrisburg wrote that they also joined WRTI as members because there was no jazz programming in their area and said, "we currently have three non-profit stations broadcasting classical music!" And a woman from Cape May County wrote,
One unknown letter writer titled a letter "WRTI YOU'VE BEEN SUCKERED" and before he or she delved into the intricate mechanics of how to get great radio reception in the area, the writer said this:
Due to a frequency glitch, Haverford High School owned the place on the FM dial where Trenton's classical station (WWFM) needed to expand to in order to reach a crucial part of Philadelphia that couldn't already get their signal - the western suburbs. But Haverford wanted to hang on to the frequency which meant that in order to reach their preferred demographic, Temple would pick up the classical programming just for those people living on the acceptable side of the city's boundary line. The rest could already receive classical music. In fact, even when steps were announced to expand WWFM's reach to the problem areas, Temple said it "would not change it's format in light of WWFM's possible expansion...that WRTI is beyond returning to an all-jazz format," completely dropping their earlier come-to-the-rescue of classical ruse.
Some letters mentioned the cancellation of the prison diaries of Mumia Abu-Jamal and expressed sorrow that the gutting of the jazz format was just more of the same treatment from an unresponsive and undemocratic university administration. One letter was from a gentlemen who clearly was in the midst of learning English and discovering America itself. His innocent understanding of democracy communicated a dedication to an ideal that jaded Americans have only given lip service to for a long time and also provided a peek at a different version of the "real world."
Lastly, the letter writers against the change felt the students who worked at the station had been mistreated and some reminded WRTI of all the current professional broadcasters around the country who had originally gotten their education and experience with the university station. One woman from Wyomissing faxed, "RTI" stands for "Radio Technical Institute," a facility founded fifty years ago for teaching Temple students about the business of broadcasting. But who are you teaching by hiring WFLN employees?" Another wrote how he had learned so much about "salsa music" through listening to the station and how he "...enjoyed listening to the college students bumble their way through the news because they were sincere and enthusiastic."
One letter stood out among all the others. It was from Kristina Palmer, the development coordinator at WRTI, the woman who had received the bulk of these letters both for and against the change in format. The Temple administration had made it known that employees of the station were not to speak out on this subject, but she did through her letter. It was short and very definitely to the point.
As with one letter that was for the format change, one letter writer for the jazz fans expressed her deep sorrow in poetry, railing against the loss and mingling pertinent questions about the marginalization of the music: