Jim Kerr & Shelli Sonstein (Shelli)

Morning Host WAXQ (Q-104) FM, New York City – Shelli Sonstein began her radio career at the age of 18 on WMMR in Philadelphia (50 years ago in January of 2023). After working at two Philadelphia stations, Sonstein moved to Atlanta, as an afternoon anchor and UPI award-winning reporter. 

Sonstein’s career also included a 10-year stint as an entertainment reporter with the CBS Radio Network. In addition, she developed and managed the first-morning prep service for the CBS Radio Network. For 15 years, Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” used that same prep service to help writers craft his iconic night nightly monologue. Shelli also worked as an anchor on the ABC radio network. 

Shelli was called to come to NYC in August of 1977 to try out as the co-host of a morning show. She knew nothing of Jim Kerr, who was also unaware of this woman who suddenly walked into the studio to join him. 

That day, a partnership was formed. 

Today she co-hosts “The Jim Kerr Rock and Roll Morning Show” on America’s most listened-to rock station, New York City’s Q104.3, their home for 19 years, where Shelli is also news director. She also worked as a news anchor on the ABS Radio Network and at WPLJ, covering on-the-scene historic events in rock, including the assassination of John Lennon, Billy Joel becoming the 1st American rocker to perform in The Soviet Union, and the Live Aid concert in Philly in 1985. 

Shelli has also been reviewing movies on the “Q” for 19 years. In addition, she served on the board of the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival. 

During the WPLJ days, Sonstein’s 7:20 a.m. dirty-joke-of-the-day became the most popular segment on their #1 rated morning show. As an author, she published the “Thoroughly Tasteful Dirty Joke Book” in 1984.  

In addition to her co-hosting and news director roles, Shelli hosts the Q104.3 issue-oriented weekly “Sonstein Sunday,” also released as the “Sonstein Sessions” podcast, which has won multiple Gracie Awards for best public affairs show, along with several New York State Broadcaster Association honors for Best Interview. They stand next to her Gracie award for best morning show co-host. 

For more than a decade, Sonstein’s passion has been using her radio platform to highlight the 9/11 community and especially the first responders lost to 9/11 toxins since 2001. To mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, she created, produced, and hosted the podcast “9/11 Stories,” personal testimonials from that day, living on as a historical document for future generations. “9/11 Stories” won the best podcast award from the NYSBA. 

Her 9/11 advocacy and commitment to first responders led to Sonstein being sworn in by then Commissioner Daniel Nigro as an FDNY Honorary Battalion Chief. She also served on the Board of Directors of Friends of Firefighters, which provides free mental health therapy to NYC firefighters and their families. 

Every year, Sonstein recruits Q104.3 listeners to join her on the annual stair climb up the 103 stories of the World Trade Center, and everyone else to donate, raising money for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. She is very proud of the dollars raised, as well as competitively placing high and improving her finish time year after year. 

Although born in Philadelphia, Sonstein has been a Jersey girl most of her life. She has 3 children and 2 grandsons. When not working, you can usually find Shelli hill- hiking with her blind rescue dog, Fritz. She also enjoys working out, biking, kayaking, or gardening at the 1852 farmhouse she shares with her husband John. 

Together Kerr and Sonstein have formed an unbeatable team. Their contributions and commitment to New York City continue to remain unsurpassed.