John Minko stayed true to form in bidding WFAN adieu shortly after 5 p.m. Friday, keeping it short and simple after the final update of a career that spanned the entire history of the station.
First he covered the sparse sports news of the day. Then he spent about 80 seconds on a personal message to listeners and co-workers.
“For the number of people to thank, I probably would have to go on into the next century for that,” said Minko, who announced on Thursday that he was taking a buyout offered by the station. “But the bottom line is this: Words cannot express how much I will miss the people that I currently work with and have worked with in the past. I love you all.”
He told a story about a long-ago day when he filled in for Mike Breen doing updates on Don Imus’ old morning program and went a little long.
“After the show, Imus confronted me in front of the water cooler next to the studio along with the bugs and gnats in Astoria,” he said. “After all, for 23 years, we worked in the only place where you had to walk upstairs to get to the basement.
“And I knew he wasn’t happy with me. And he simply said, in only the way that he could and in this tone: ‘Tell the people what they need to know and shut up.’
“And that’s the way I choose to close this update. I hope for 32 years, 9 months and 3 days I have done that. God bless. Stay safe.”
Minko, 67, who joined WFAN two days before it launched on July 1, 1987, long has been one of the most well-liked people at the station, both internally and externally.
He made his announcement on Mike Francesa’s show on Thursday, then appeared on all three of the station’s daytime programs Friday. On several occasions during those visits, he choked up with emotion.
Harris Allen, the station’s overnight update man since 2006, also is taking a buyout and leaving. He too made appearances to say goodbye to hosts and listeners.
Minko had been planning to retire from full-time work in the near future, but the move was accelerated by the business downturn affecting WFAN and other radio stations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Part-time weekend hosts have been sidelined, and weekday hosts have agreed to take pay cuts through July.
The circumstances also prevented Minko from an in-person farewell with colleagues. Hosts and update people have been working from home in recent weeks.
Special guests also paid tribute to Minko during the day, including former WFAN staffer Ian Eagle and former afternoon host Chris Russo, who worked with Minko on the “Mike and the Mad Dog” show.
“You’ve bored us for 50 years; it’s time to move on, for crying out loud,” said Russo, who like other hosts gently has poked fun at Minko over the decades.
Said afternoon host Evan Roberts: “He’s an icon. He’s a legend.”
Minko said on the afternoon show: “This day was going to come this year. I wanted to give two months’ notice, and it ended up obviously being two days. I have no regrets.''