So many wonderful tributes have been written and spoken about WHAS Radio host Francene Cucinello, who died last week after a heart attack and subsequent brain aneurysm.
Francene's close friends and colleagues have done a beautiful job describing her talent and contributions to the community. As someone who had met Francene only a few times, I cannot add anything personal. Yet, I do want to share one observation as a fellow broadcaster.
The challenge of a radio talk show host is to be able to provide a consistently "sound" product. Ideally, the show will entertain and inform. And, it is paramount to be relevant in every sense of the word.
Within the last year, Francene's relevance in the public arena had become very evident to me. From her hosting of Congressman John Yarmuth's health care town hall to newsworthy interviews with public officials, Francene had worked to not only provide conversation, but instigate conversation. Just last week, I was with a few other reporters talking to an elected official when one reporter asked the politician to respond to a comment made on the Francene show. Earlier this month, Senate President David Williams cited comments made by Governor Steve Beshear on the Francene show.
In the grand scheme of the grief being felt by Francene's family and friends, this observation may seem inconsequential. I might not have known Francene Cucinello well personally, but as someone who has sat behind the same microphone, I salute my late colleague for her professional and civic accomplishments and her relevance. In the world of radio talk shows, that is high praise.