Ken Simon directing Walter Cronkite during production of "Connecticut & the Sea." It was a career highlight for one of them.
Ken Simon (Executive Producer) helped to invent the modern alternative newsweekly when he founded The Syracuse New Times. Simon led the weekly for 11 years as it gained regional prominence for its coverage of arts, entertainment, media, business, and politics. The Syracuse paper published weekly for 50 years and four months before publishing its last issue in June 2020. Another alternative weekly founded by Simon, The Ithaca New Times, marked its 50th year of weekly publishing in 2022. The two newsweeklies have received numerous awards for journalistic excellence.
After selling the weeklies, Simon worked as an editorial and publishing consultant, with clients including the National Consumer Cooperative Bank, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Connecticut Film Commission, and United Technologies Corporation. During that time he wrote a weekly newspaper series on a disastrous urban renewal project in his rural Connecticut hometown that won the Amos Tuck/Champion Award for Economic Understanding. He also authored "The New England Handcraft Catalog" (Globe Pequot Press), which profiled more than 200 professional New England artisans.
During this time, Simon started a marketing consultancy for professional regional theaters. Clients included Tony Award winners Denver Center Theatre Company, Goodspeed Opera House, Hartford Stage Company, Long Wharf Theatre, McCarter Theatre, and Yale Repertory Theatre.
Simon has produced, written, and directed numerous broadcast documentaries for PBS and Connecticut Public Television. Programs include Left to Die, the story of the Navy’s loss of the USS Juneau and its crew in WWII; Crusaders & Criminals, a look at groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court cases involving Connecticut residents, Schemitzun!, portraying the country’s biggest celebration of Native American music and dance; USS Nautilus, the story of the first nuclear sub; As We Tell Our Stories, the history, culture, and politics of Connecticut Indian tribes; and The Mark of Uncas, a history of Connecticut's Mohegan Tribe.
He also produced, wrote, and directed nine documentaries in The Connecticut Experience series, a collaboration of Connecticut Public Television and Connecticut Humanities Council, which was recognized by the Federation of State Humanities Councils as the best humanities project in the nation. Programs included Between Boston & New York, exploring the state's sense of place; Colt: Legend & Legacy, a biography of gun manufacturers Samuel and Elizabeth Colt; East of the River, the story of eastern Connecticut; From Here to There, state transportation history and impact; Suburbia: The Good Life? examining the state's suburban lifestyle; Connecticut & the Sea, the maritime influence on state culture and commerce; The Green, a look at our cherished public places; and Working the Land: The Story of Connecticut Agriculture.
Simon produced the PBS concerts Carole King: A New Colour In The Tapestry, The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over, and A Tribute To Harry Chapin. He also produced the PBS specials Finding Your Own True Love and Emotional Freedom Now!
His documentaries have won three Emmy awards and 18 nominations. Simon is a graduate of Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications.