Several years after Italian oriented radio programs ceased broadcasting in the Delaware Valley, a group of Italian-American business owners and other individuals funded the return of Italian American radio programming. On Sunday, Nov. 13, 2013, at 8 a.m., “Radio Italian Style” debuted on Wilmington’s WILM 1450 AM.
The sponsors engaged the talents of Melissa Cannavo-Marino to host and produce bi-lingual programing to cover all things Italian: music heritage, culture, folklore, and current events. Cannavo-Marino began broadcasting on IABN, Philadelphia’s full-time Italian language network, in 1999. After graduating from the South Jersey High School of Performing Arts in 2003, she moved to Italy to study at the American University of Rome. There she earned a degree in mass communications and public relations, and her Italian Triennale degree through a joint program with the University of Macerata. Upon returning to the U.S. in 2010, she went on to earn a master’s degree from Wilmington University.
In May 2015, L’Associazione Regionale Abruzzese Delco (ARA Delco) entered into a partnership with the Philadelphia Office of the Beasley Media Group to bring a similar program to one of its Philadelphia outlets. ARA Delco contacted Cannavo-Marino, who accepted the proposal to do a second program that covered a large area of the Philadelphia region. In September 2020, ARA Delco engaged Cannavo-Marino to host a third program, after it partnered with WVLT 92.1 FM in nearby Vineland, N.J. “Viaggio Musicale” airs at 2 p.m. on Philly’s WWDB 860 AM and at 6 p.m. in Vineland. These programs remain the only standard-band Italian-American radio programs serving the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
On March 7, Melissa was awarded The Grand Lodge of Delaware of the Order of Sons and Daughters of Italy’s Distinguished Service Medal of Honor.
The Grand Lodge’s State President Joseph Facciolo, who presented the award, said “Melissa has gone above and beyond to spread our heritage through these radio broadcasts. Moreover, through her combined efforts, both privately and through the WILM program, she has assisted the Grand Lodge and filial lodges, Prince of Piedmont and St. Gabriel’s, with their annual Holiday Toy Drive which resulted in the distribution of hundreds of toys to several local charitable agencies and Nemours Children’s Hospital.”
In addition to her radio duties and regular full-time position as a VP Credit Portfolio Specialist at the Bancorp’s Wilmington, Del., office, Melissa volunteers at the National Riding Stables Horse Rescue in Gettysburg, Pa., and as an Italian-American Herald contributor.