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A fond farewell from Kevin Gordon, as he prepares to sign off at WRTI

Joseph V. Labolito
Temple University

Kevin Gordon joined WRTI in 2016, and has been an impeccable voice on our classical broadcast every weekday from 2 to 6 p.m. Kevin recently marked his 50th year in radio, and we're proud that he spent much of the last decade with us. He has decided to retire: his last day on the air will be Friday, March 17. Here are some gracious parting words.

A Note From Bill Johnson, General Manager of WRTI

After interviewing Kevin Gordon seven years ago, I remember saying to myself, “I think I just met the most interesting man in the world.” Seven years later, I can confirm he is indeed ridiculously interesting — but he is also so much more. He is a tremendous talent, a wonderful colleague, and a joy to be around.

His good humor, positive nature and wit bring a lightness to our work. His talent brings excellence to our broadcasting. Simply put, his presence makes WRTI better.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a hosting career spanning over 50 years, but I do know that when he signs off for the last time on March 17, it will be a career well done and a retirement well earned. And for those of you thinking he is setting off into the sunset, I say: Don’t be surprised if he shows up in your life in the most unexpected, and interesting, way.

Thank you, Kevin.

A Message from Kevin Gordon

When one has been on the air as long as I have — 51 years! — one becomes what’s known as a “veteran broadcaster.” That term reminds me of a quote from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about his last Sherlock Holmes story: “I fear that Mr. Sherlock Holmes may become like one of those popular tenors who, having outlived their time, are still tempted to make repeated farewell bows to their indulgent audiences.” He added: “And so, reader, farewell to Sherlock Holmes!” Substitute “veteran broadcaster” for “tenor.”

Thank you for welcoming me into your lives for the last seven years. We’ve shared beautiful music together, and more: a pandemic, snowstorms and political upheavals, to name just a few.


So it’s with mixed feelings that I bid you farewell a few days after my 69th birthday. Sad to be saying farewell, but eager for what may be ahead.

Kevin Gordon

Before I go, I’d like to say thank you to my colleagues who’ve been so kind and supportive and who’ve become good friends. And I’d like to share some of my favorite WRTI memories:

- Getting the WRTI gang together twice to bring you an old-time radio style dramatization of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

- Hosting the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra both on the air and on stage at the Kimmel Center. I’ll miss those terrific kids.

- Hosting the live classical performances during the lunch hour from our performance studio. A front row, make that only seat, three feet from the Steinway grand as Philadelphia's top musicians played their hearts out.

- Painting the poster celebrating the 20th anniversary of the marriage of classical music and jazz on WRTI.

- Sharing in-depth articles on our website about the music we play.

- And our daily dose of Hollywood, Flix@5.

Now it’s on to other things:

Painting. For years, I’ve had a concurrent career, painting commissioned oil portraits for universities, hospitals and boardrooms, as well as other things that strike my fancy, like landscapes, still lifes and thematic paintings involving mythical and historical themes.

Courtesy of Kevin Gordon

Travel. I’ve always been a passionate traveler and consider it the best form of education. I’ve hit most of the spots on my bucket list, but I still have a few to go with the best of traveling companions, my wife Fiona.

Courtesy of Kevin Gordon

Acting. Always a ham, with my last appearance in an Off-Broadway show a few years ago, I plan to dust off my Equity card and tread the boards again.

Ken Levy

Again, thank you for tuning in weekday afternoons and for tolerating my corny jokes. We’ve shared a lot together and I’ll never forget those moments and the generosity of both your insightful comments and your financial support of WRTI.

This “veteran broadcaster” will still be listening to WRTI, but from your side now, and I hope you will, too.