Annais Rittenberg was the voice of World Music on UC Santa Cruz radio station KZSC 88.1 FM, building quite a following in her three years on air. Her curiosity came across over the airwaves.
"She embraced it. She loved it," said Michael Bryant, her KZSC broadcast advisor. "Her personality on air was very much like her personality in person. She was effervescent. Had a great sense of humor and you can tell that she was really intrigued by the music she was exploring."
U.S. & World
News from around the country and around the globe
Rittenberg would have been a senior at UC Santa Cruz this fall. But she died in a freak accident Wednesday morning at Camp Tawonga, where she was an art counselor, when a tree fell on her about 8:30 a.m. She is survived by parents Mark Rittenberg and Penny Kreitzer and a brother, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. She graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts in New York City.
The news of her death near Yosemite has caused a void. Station manager Alec Howard said it's an emptiness that's hard to describe. Rittenberg was the station's World Music Director and hosted another show called, "Global Grooves."
"It's one of those things that when you hear, you don't really know what to think or what to do. It still quite hasn't hit me yet. Everything just feels really weird and surreal," Howard said.
They're not surprised Rittenberg was a youth camp staffer this summer. It fit her personality.
"Working with children, that just seemed like a natural for her. She's got the right personality for it," Bryant said.
They admit, the toughest part will happen this fall when school begins. Rittenberg's voice on campus radio will not be there.
"I don't think it's quite sunk in yet that she's not going to be back and doing radio any more," Bryant said.
KZSC says it will have a special tribute for her soon. The station plans to air recordings from her show as well as share thoughts about her work and her life.