Keith Brand, the Sunday morning host of WXPN's Sleepy Hollow, is retiring after 27 years at the mic.
"I think he wants his weekend back. It’s hard to be a producer and DJ and do it every week," said XPN program director Bruce Warren. "He’s doing really well at teaching [at Rowan], he’s doing some production at NPR, he’s into sound and he wants some of that time to recoup to do something else. That’s great. It’s an end of era."
Warren said that he, Helen Leicht, Chuck Elliot and even Sleepy Hollow alum David Dye will fill in for Brand until they find a replacement, but he admits that replacing Brand will be tough. "Anybody can make a playlist but it’s communicating that playlist and engaging the audience and setting that tone," Warren said. "Keith had the amazing ability to go from a French pop song to Roxy Music to Cat Stevens quite elegantly. That takes a lot of work."
A letter was sent out to 'XPN members with Brand's fond farewell:
Dear Sleepy Hollow listeners,
It is with both sadness and anticipation that I announce that I will be retiring from Sleepy Hollow after 27 years. My last show will be May 5th. When I began broadcasting at WXPN, it was still a community radio station with a small but dedicated listenership. Today, WXPN is a force to be reckoned with. I have been fortunate to quietly watch that transition over the past three decades.
I stayed at WXPN all these years because I believe that what Chuck Elliot and I created, along with a number of supplementary hosts, was unique. I often said that in my travels I never heard radio quite like Sleepy Hollow. That is as true today as it was 27 years ago. It seems like an appropriate time to go as Sleepy Hollow celebrates its 40th anniversary.
What I am most proud of has been presenting music that I found interesting to an eager weekend audience. Often, that music found its Philadelphia premier on Sleepy Hollow. Musicians like Sigur Ros, Damien Rice, Grizzly Bear, and Pink Martini found an early and welcome home on Sleepy Hollow. And I am just as proud to play lesser-known musicians like Jherek Bischoff, Anias Mitchell, Sam Amidon, and The Clogs. I never thought I was a great radio DJ, but I was passionate about different kinds of music and had a desire to find the connections between them.
The main reason I am retiring is that after 27 years it is time to do something else with my weekends. Hosting Sleepy Hollow required a lot of my time and I want that time back. I've recently been elected the Chair of the Radio Television and Film Department at Rowan University and that will require a lot more of my time and energy. The time devoted to producing Sleepy Hollow will be diverted to other creative outlets, including hopefully producing more stories for NPR programs. So I don't feel like I'm giving up on radio.
It's been a pleasure to wake up with you for so many Sunday mornings. Your phone calls of encouragement were always welcome. But it's time to sign off one last time. Keep that dial tuned to 88.5.
Good bye and good luck, Keith, from everyone at XPN.