For Immediate Release
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253
WXXI-FM HOST SIMON PONTIN RETIRES AFTER 33 YEARS
Pontin Signs Off May 16
(Rochester, New York) May 8, 2009 – After 33 years of hosting Classical music on WXXI-FM, Simon Pontin will sign off for the last time on May 16. He is the longest-tenured morning radio host in Rochester. The retiring Pontin, now 68, joined Classical 91.5 in 1976, and during his distinguished time at the station, has been producer and host of The Sunshine Show and Salmagundy.
"I know that for many public radio listeners, mornings won’t be the same without The Sunshine Show,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “He is truly one of Rochester's enduring personalities. In addition to his exceptional programming choices, we will miss Simon’s wit and charm both on and off the air.”
Besides having a gift for creating a perfect selection of classical music, Pontin is also well-known for the unique way in which he signs on The Sunshine Show each weekday morning at six. For more than three decades listeners have enjoyed waking up to field recordings of bird songs, and in 2002 City Newspaper readers voted Pontin’s bird songs the Best Wake Up Call. Pontin gives credit to his show opening to the late Robert J. Lurtsema, who opened his show, Morning Pro Musica, in New England with bird calls.
In 1990 Pontin added a sixth day to his workweek, and began producing Salmagundy, the Show for Working People. During this light-hearted and humorous magazine-style program, Pontin played folk, jazz, show tunes, and novelty pieces intermixed with locally produced features including movie reviews, musical commentaries and book reviews.
“I’ll miss programming the music, but I won’t miss waking at 4 a.m.,” admits Pontin. “I appreciate how devoted some of my listeners are, and hardly feel worthy of it. I’ve met many of them over the years, and they are extremely nice people.”
In August 2006 Pontin celebrated his 30th anniversary at WXXI, and received a proclamation from the Monroe County Legislature in honor of his dedication to the arts and for bringing beautiful music to the Rochester community.
Pontin was born in Reading, in Berkshire, England in the early days of World War II. He moved to America with his family when he was 16 years old. In the States, Simon worked at several printing-related jobs before joining the U.S. Air Force in 1959. In the service, he was trained to repair broadcast equipment. Upon being discharged, Simon took a job in a safety department at Eastman Kodak Company. While at Kodak, he moonlighted as host on WBBF-FM, then Rochester’s only classical music station. He joined WBBF-FM’s successor, WBFB, full-time in 1971 and later became its program director. He left the station in 1975 when the format changed from all-classical to all-news. After less than a year as a car salesman, he accepted a job with WXXI-FM as host of the morning show.
Pontin’s regular substituteBrenda Tremblay will act as interim host of the morning show, weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Classical 91.5 is Rochester’s only all-classical music station, and one of the most listened to public classical radio stations in the country.
WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.