Bob Smith, longtime host and producer of WXXI-AM’s 1370 Connection, is stepping down from the midday talk show. This past April, Smith suffered a stroke and is currently in long-term rehabilitative care.
Smith has been part of the WXXI News Team for more than 25 years, leading the community in civic engagement and civil discourse. Over the years, he has interviewed many newsmakers and opinion leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Rudolph Giuliani, Mario Cuomo, Charles Keating, Philip Roth, and B.B. King, as well as many local leaders. A special two-hour broadcast is being planned for mid-October, where fans can share their favorite memories from the show and wish Smith well.
“Bob’s incredible wealth of knowledge and curiosity of many varied topics made him such an engaging talk show host,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “His dedication to the program has made 1370 Connection essential to the Rochester community for more than 25 years.”
Smith started his career in broadcast news before his 20th birthday, when he landed his first full-time radio job as a reporter/anchor for Syracuse station WHEN (AM) while simultaneously enrolled in graduate school at Cornell University. He holds a Ph.D. in American political and legal history from Cornell and taught undergraduate American political and diplomatic history courses to Cornell undergraduate students. He joined WXXI in March of 1988.
Throughout his career, Smith received several awards, including a New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association Award and an Award for Media Excellence from the United Nations Association of Rochester.
Smith has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Rochester Rotary Club and the Small Business Council of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. He's also author of the first of a series of major task force reports for the Urban League of Rochester, which helped launch public school reform in the city.
It is important to WXXI and to Smith that steps are taken to maintain the level of quality programming and preserve the legacy of Smith’s work over the past 25 years. A national search for a new host of 1370 Connection is currently being conducted.