Mike Francesa closed out his 30-year run on WFAN on Friday with a heartfelt monologue that lasted about 20 minutes, during which he thanked fans, colleagues, his family and others.
He finished with a message to listeners, saying, “I will miss you. I thank you, and from the bottom of my heart, I love you. Goodbye.”
Soon he was leaving WFAN’s Soho studios on a cold, snowy night, first embracing his longtime program director, Mark Chernoff, then leaving for the ride home to Manhasset. His longtime driver, Julio Rosa, who said he planned a playlist for the ride that included Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” and Green Day’s “Good Riddance.”
Earlier in his remarks, Francesa had said, “I feel very fortunate, very blessed for everything that has gone on . . . It has been a dream job, and I’ve loved every single minute of it, absolutely.”
He said he now would have time to focus more time on his family, including his wife, Roe, 12-year-old twins and an 11-year-old.
“I’ve had the best job in the world for 30 years,” he said. “I think it’s time to go.”
Later, he said, “I really believe that I’ve had the best job that anyone could have in this city, not just for sports, for anything . . . I’ve never worked a day in my life, because I’ve loved this . . . This has been a great station. It’s the greatest city in the world. You guys are the greatest fans in the world.”
He said he wished success to the show that will replace his, featuring Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott, and said he always will feel a part of the station.
“You can’t spell ‘Francesa’ without ‘FAN’ and it will always be a part of my heart and part of my being,” he said.
Just before 6, Francesa accepted his last call, from his wife, who never had been on the show before.
“First time, last time,” she said, later adding “This is amazing. And God has truly blessed you, and now it’s time for you to come home to your biggest fan.”
The honor of the last update went to longtime update man Bob Heussler. At 6 p.m. Francesa said, “One last time, here’s Mr. Met.”
As promised, Francesa spent most of his final show taking dozens of calls from listeners who offered goodbyes and thank yous as he ended his 30-year run on the station.
After dedicating Thursday’s show to colleagues and celebrities, he spent his last day with ordinary callers, many of whom reminisced about listening to him and his former partner, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, across generations.
Francesa paid tribute on the air to Russo, his partner from 1989-2008, saying, “This is the last link to what Dog and I created back in 1989 . . . It’s goodbye not just for me, it’s goodbye for us. And that’s a big part of this.”
Russo made note of Francesa’s final show both on his MLB Network show, “High Heat,” and his SiriusXM Satellite Radio show.
During a 13-minute monologue about Francesa on SiriusXM, Russo said, “Him leaving today, departing, is a very weird feeling. It almost feels like half my life is being left, too. It almost feels like, boy, Mike’s leaving, maybe it’s time.
“I guess half of me is dead. It’s like half of my career is sort of in a vault . . . I feel a little sad, probably sadder than he is.”
By 5 p.m., #ThankYouMikeFrancesa was trending nationally on Twitter. That was also the time of the final update from John Minko, who worked with Francesa across the entirety of his 30 years at the station.
Francesa introduced Minko by saying, “Here, for the last time on the program with me, is the Mink Man.”
The last non-family member call came in at 5:38, after which Francesa thanked his most avid supporters from Mongo Nation and FrancesaCon, and in various corners of social media.
At 5:45, Francesa offered his final weekly NFL picks, going with the Chiefs over the Chargers, the Saints over the Jets and the Patriots over the Steelers.