Simon Pontin, host of "The Sunshine Show" and "Salmagundy" retires

Sat, 05/16/2009 - 6:00am
Simon Pontin_140.jpg
WXXI-FM Host Simon Pontin
Simon's Retirement PartySimon's Retirement PartySimon 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.
 
 
 
Pontin Tribute - Barbara Stewart:
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Pontin Tribute - Bob Koch:
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Pontin Tribute - Dave Sluberski:
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Pontin Tribute - David Minor:
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Pontin Tribute - Ellen Koskoff:
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Pontin Tribute - George Grella:
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Pontin Tribute - Isobel Neuberger:
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Pontin Tribute - Isobel Neuberger 1:
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Pontin Tribute - Jay Stetzer:
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Pontin Tribute - Joe Baker 1:
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Pontin Tribute - Joe Baker 2:
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Pontin Tribute - John Andres:
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Pontin Tribute - John Ballard:
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Pontin Tribute - John Proffitt:
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Pontin Tribute - Lauri Dishman:
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Pontin Tribute - Lucien Morin:
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Pontin Tribute - Mary Jo Heath:
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Pontin Tribute - Mordecai Lipshutz:
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Pontin Tribute - Richard Howland-Bolton:
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If you'd like to leave a message for Simon electronically, you're invited to add it as a comment below.
Keep in mind that comments are moderated and will not immediately appear, but will all certainly be passed on.
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Comments

Goodbye Simon

I knew your voice from WBFB and then your face from Lincoln Rochester bank when you were working at Piehler. Then in 1984 I came to work at WXXI and got to know the person. And when I left in 2002 it was the Sunshine Show that continued to entertain and educate me. Best of luck in wherever you go from here.

Congratulations, Simon!

For my 31 years in Rochester, I have been privileged to listen to your intelligent, witty morning broadcasts. You have exemplified the best of this city. Thanks so much, and have wonderful times in retirement.

Perhaps, before Simon

Perhaps, before Simon leaves, he could once and for all explain to us who "Working People" are? I have been hearing this on his show for years and have never heard him explain who his show was intended for all these years.

Favourite comment

Simon - My favorite comment was one you made many years ago when you were playing a record (yes, vinyl) of a long symphony or concerto, but you started playing side 2. The music stopped, there was a bit of silence, and then you said: "Tradition behooves us to begin with the first movement," and music began again, on side 1. Perfectly Simon!

I've been listening to you since your WBBF days, and Friday was indeed a sad day. We will definitely miss you. Enjoy your well deserved retirement!

Thank you - you are irreplaceable.
Judy

Congratulations Simon

Simon,

Congratulations and best wishes on your retirement. Since my arrival in Rochester in April 1982, WXXI has been #1 on my radio dial, and you, of course are a major reason for that. I had WXXI on my office radio all day long until retired and I can't tell you the many hours of enjoyment that you and others like Mordecai have brought into my life. I remember the beginning (and the contest to find the name) of your Salmagundy show and I especially appreciate your often dry wit and introducing British musical humorists such as Flanders and Swann to those who listened to you. Best of Luck and enjoy the rest of your life. Perhaps we will meet on the street one day, if so I will introduce myself to you. Good luck.

I'll miss you

It’s Monday morning and I’m going through withdrawal. Simon, your voice is no longer there, and I’ve been listening to it every morning since your WBFB days. I’ll miss that little tug of anticipation as Garrison Keillor or Jay Stetzer give their packaged pieces, wondering what wonderful whimsical piece of music you may have found to complement the words. I’ll miss the marches and the band music (things I’d never listen to if it were not for you, Simon). Will I never again hear that woman singing “There’ll Always Be an England”? One of the true joys of Rochester life has gone and things can never be the same. Very best wishes for a satisfying retirement. You will be missed!

Simon's retirement

Oh dear, Simon! Mornings will be difficult for me starting today, May 18th. Your voice, your humor encouraged me to get up and go out and face the work-a-day world for many years. The birds at 6 A.M. are so cheery especially on a winter morning, and there you were already at work so early in the morning. And upon my own retirement I felt like I was moving from 4/4 march time to 3/4 waltz time. The first day I awoke and didn't have to rush to get ready and go to work, you played a waltz and I thought, "How wonderful". One thing I loved was the way you matched the music to the happenings of the day or made a joke by playing a certain piece of music. I certainly wish the best in life to you and Christy.
You seem so right for each other. I am a former neighbor and a constant 6-day-a-week listener.
Though selfishly, I'll be sad not to hear you, thinking of you enjoying life even more now will ease that sadness.

Pontin retires blog

Co-Worker

Please give my best to Simon. I worked in the TV engineering department for 13 year and enjoyed the time I spent talking and partying with Simon. Especially his Halloween parties.
Simon, please drop me a line.
Mike Belanger