Rita Houston

Rita Houston

Lynda Shenkman Curtis

When it comes to healing, never underestimate the power of music.

That's the unconquerable mindset of Rita Houston, program director and on-air talent at New York's adult alternative radio station WFUV. In August, Houston was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. After surgery and five months of chemotherapy, however, "I just received my first clear scan!" she beams.

In celebration, Houston will dedicate her weekly specialty show, The Whole Wide World, airing tonight (Feb. 27) from 7 to 10 p.m. ET on 90.7 FM in New York and via its online stream, to the role that music can play in helping keep spirits strong in the face of any obstacle, even the most daunting. "Music has always been a healing force and, sadly, cancer is something that is just too familiar to too many," she says.

"I'm hoping to bring people together through the immediacy of radio and social media. I'll be sharing music and my stories with listeners and inviting all to share their stories."

With listeners encouraged to use the hashtag #hopeontheair, Houston will be interacting on Facebook and Twitter throughout the show, as well. Among the songs Houston plans to play? "I Just Want to Celebrate" by Rare Earth, "The Healing Game" by Van Morrison and, showing a sense of humor in the face of the disease and the effects of its treatment, what else: "Hair" by the Cowsills.

In thanking Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center ("especially the amazing nurses … how do they do what they do every day?") for the care she's received, Houston is happy to provide a forum mixing uplifting music and messages, reinforcing the best of what live and local radio has the power to provide.

"I'm so moved by the people I've met along the way and tonight I want to honor the struggle that I've seen patients, caregivers, friends and families go through," Houston says.

"Tonight, we share songs of sadness, triumph, gratitude and healing."