Howard Simon recognized by Erie County Legislature for years of broadcasting excellence

Simon recently retired after spending the past 18-plus years on WGR Sports Radio 550

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN/WGR 550) - The Erie County Legislature paid tribute to longtime Buffalo sportscaster Howard Simon on Thursday after he recently signed off from his morning host duties at WGR Sports Radio 550. Simon had spent the last 18-plus years at WGR, and nearly 34 years covering Buffalo sports in Western New York.

"It meant a lot. Honestly, when someone texted me and told me they were going to do this, I thought it was an April Fool's joke. I just didn't know why the Erie County Legislature, again, this is back to, 'All I did was talk about sports. I don't know why it's such a big deal,'" said Simon on Thursday following his recognition. "Having said that, it was cool to be there, it was a really nice ceremony."

Erie County Legislator Chris Greene (Sixth District) introduced Simon and presented him with the proclamation, saying he had been a constant with Buffalo sports fans who he shared all the highs and lows, the thrills and heartache that come with rooting on Buffalo's teams.

"When all was said and done, it was really cool, it really moved me a little bit," Simon said. "This is home, this is where I've been, and this is where I've done all my work. It was really nice that the Legislature took a few minutes out of their schedule to honor me with the proclamation. I was really happy with it."

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It was shortly after Simon revealed the news of his impending retirement back on Feb. 15 that he received a text from former radio colleague, now media relations representative for the Erie County Legislature, Lynne Dixon, saying they wanted to honor him.

"I texted her back and I said, 'You're kidding, right?' I just didn't think this was that big a thing," Simon said. "She said, 'No, we want to do that. It's a little ceremony, we meet in regular session. Show up early, we'll do a Q&A, we'll take some pictures and they'll have a proclamation.' So I thought, 'Why not?'"

After heading down to Old County Hall in Downtown Buffalo, Simon was able to meet some of the legislators, re-connect with County Comptroller Kevin Hardwick from their days working together in radio, and get proper recognition from the county's elected leaders.

"I thought it was a really nice touch that all the legislators came up from their desk, and were all on the podium around me when they presented it," Simon said. "I got a nice round of applause, and I think I had them promise me that I could be back if the Bills win a Super Bowl or if the Sabres win a [Stanley] Cup."

As for how retirement has treated Simon to this point, he says he was able to enjoy a nice extended trip to Florida and soak in some sun and beach time. However, he's been sure to stay connected with the help of social media to what's happening in the Western New York sports scene.

"I am on Twitter, so I know what's happening," Simon said. "I know the Sabres' season kind of went down the tubes and I've been following the Bills in free agency. So I didn't completely close myself off from the world of sports, I went to a Mets' spring training game. I'm keeping up on it, but it's not front-and-center, and dominating my life the way it used to be, and that's fine."

Hear more from Simon's recognition ceremony during Thursday's Erie County Legislative session available in the player below:

Featured Image Photo Credit: Max Faery - WBEN