Simon Pontin, host of "The Sunshine Show" and "Salmagundy" retires
Sat, 05/16/2009 - 6:00am
Simon Pontin hosted his last Sunshine Show on Friday, May 15 and his last Salmagundy Show on Saturday, May 16. After 33 years of hosting Classical music on WXXI-FM, he has retired. Pontin, the longest-tenured morning radio host in Rochester, joined Classical 91.5 in 1976, and during his distinguished time at the station, was producer and host of The Sunshine Show and Salmagundy, the Show for Working People. His love for Classical music began at an early age. “As a child I listened to the BBC, and they always played Classical music,” explains Pontin. That’s where he was first exposed to the works of Mozart, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Copland and so many others.
Novelty songs is another love of Pontin’s, and his admiration for it inspired the creation of Salmagundy, the light-hearted and humorous magazine-style program featuring show tunes, novelty pieces and locally produced movie reviews, book reviews and musical commentary. “I love Classical music, and I don’t think Salmagundy took anything away from that,” he said. “But, that show was more my personality.”
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 enjoys traveling, gardening and entertaining his greyhounds, and plans to do more of it with his fiancée Christy Simons. He has three adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren.
"Mornings will never be the same," said Brenda Tremblay, who is serving as interim host of the morning show, weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.