My Beloved Francene Cucinello

I just don’t know where to begin.

My dear friend Francene has passed away at the age of 43.

I can’t breathe. I just. Dunno. She’s the one person I’ve been able to count on for three years. I love her dearly.

May she rest in peace.

I’ll miss you, doll.

EDIT: If you loved Francene, please stop by any BB&T branch to make a donation to support aneurysm research. The Francene Fund.

From Congressman John Yarmuth:

“Francene brought so much passion and joy to every aspect of her life and was genuinely driven by compassion for those around her.  She woke up every morning excited to use her position to help make people’s lives better.  And that’s exactly what she did– entertaining and informing us, always giving back, personally helping people find jobs, and so much more.  The more time I spent with her, the more I respected her intellect and admired her generosity.  I am devastated for the loss to this community and heartbroken for the loss of my friend.  My thoughts and prayers are with her mother and all of her friends.”

From Attorney General Jack Conway:

“This is such a terrible tragedy. I thought the world of Francene and she was just far too young to leave us. She contributed greatly to the public discourse in Kentucky. Her listeners were her cause and I loved that passion. It was never a nine-to-twelve radio job to her. For example, just a few weeks ago, she and I both attended a play at Fern Creek High School on a Friday night to spotlight the issue of cybersafety. She carried her commitment with her at all times.

Francene never minced words and frankly, she made me a better public servant. I didn’t just answer questions on her show, she always followed-up to make certain we were taking action. When I was on her show talking about the issues, I knew she and her listeners were holding me accountable. I always found her well researched and she will be missed.”

From Metro Councilman Jim King:

“I am shocked and saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Francence Cucinello.  Best known as simply “Francene”, she provided radio listeners in the region a provocative, interesting, dialogue on the issues of the day.  The thoughts and prayers of our family and staff go out to the family and friends of Francene.”

From Chris Thieneman:

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear and good friend Francene Cucinello. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this time of surprising loss. Francene touched the hearts and minds of so many in this community, and I hope each of each will celebrate her life and dedication to Louisville. She spent her life bettering those around her, and her passion for life will be greatly missed. Many knew her as a radio personality, but I am grateful that I knew her as my friend.”

From Councilwoman Madonna Flood:

“While we may have had differing opinions on political issues, the fact remains that when it came to helping the community, especially taking care of our our soldiers and service women with “Doing our Part from the Heart,” there was no political party or opinion as far as Francene was concerned. She had a caring spirit when it came to helping those in need.”

From Governor Steve Beshear:

“I am deeply saddened to learn that one of Kentucky’s most beloved radio personalities, Francene Cucinello, passed away unexpectedly today.  I considered her a friend, despite her tough questions, and I enjoyed our frequent interviews on her show.  People felt like they knew Francene because she was so open and honest, and her death is a terrible blow to the community.  She was savvy, warm, whip-smart and compassionate.  She will be deeply missed by all.”

From U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell:

“I was saddened to hear about the passing of Francene Cucinello. Francene’s open debate on a wide-range of political and social issues kept Louisville talking, and that’s one of the reasons her show was so popular. Elaine and I send our condolences to her family and friends and to the entire WHAS family.”

From Mayor Jerry Abramson:

“While we didn’t always agree on the issues, Francene had a special way of spurring people to talk about subjects important to our community and our state.”

From Secretary of State Trey Grayson:

“Nancy and I are deeply saddened by the sudden death of Francene Cucinello, and our thoughts are prayers are with her family, friends and her co-workers at WHAS. Francene’s passing is a huge loss for the Louisville community and all of Kentucky. Her many talents and her skill at sparking important dialogue about politics and current events in Kentucky will be greatly missed.”

UPDATE @ 10:30 P.M. – Here’s a screenshot from Google Trends:

One of the top searches in the United States. Infectious. Just like she’d like it. A welcomed bright spot on this emotional evening.

25 thoughts on “My Beloved Francene Cucinello

  1. My heart is broken. My wife, son and I would see her at Bats games. She provided me more than one tip, was always gracious to allow us to come and shoot video during her program on several occasions when she had newsmakers on which she frequently did… or spoke about those newsmakers. She also had me as a guest on her show a couple of times. I even went to her house to do a story with her involving animal services and we shot video of her dog Monty. I counted her not only as a respected colleague, but a friend as did several other people in our newsroom. Rest in peace Francene.

  2. Wow, what a horrible loss. I had the pleasure of being acquainted with her through another friend. Just a phenominal mind and a wonderful human being. This is a kick in the gut.

  3. I can’t believe it. Healthy one day and and then gone. What could have happened? I miss her.

    I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it.

  4. Can’t help but think of the sad irony of her tag line from her show, “Remember life is short, so make the most of it.”
    She certainly did.

  5. I’m deeply sorry to anyone who thinks it was inappropriate for me to post this news. I just didn’t know what else to do. It’s not often I get personal. But Francene is just…

    I can’t even deal. I’ll be back sometime next week.

    I’m sorry.

  6. I attended a dinner at the Seelbach a few years ago and sat next to her and Mark Lamkin and offered some commentary on her show once. Didn’t always care for her politics, but she was an incredibly nice person. It’s a shame, and the fact that she was several years younger than me gives cause for a gut check.

  7. Jake, it’s all over the news, so you’re good.

    I am shocked and saddened to hear of Francene’s passing.

    While I didn’t listen to her radio program, I did deeply appreciate her work at conducting the health care reform town hall meeting last summer. She was very even-handed and really kept it all under control, despite some there who might have wanted to cause problems.

    I also think that no matter what we may think of a person’s political leanings, we should deeply appreciate anyone who tirelessly works to get local issues discussed in an open forum. Francene did very well in that regard.

    My heart goes out to all her loved ones, including you Jake, in this very difficult time.

  8. I am stunned. So sorry for your loss Jake and the communities loss. I did not know her but met her just briefly at the tv station where I work. She smiled and said How ya doin? That was it, but apparently she was that kind of person where she would have an impact on someone by just saying hi. An Icon in local media has passed. God Bless her family and Heaven’s got another bright star.

  9. Unbelievable…… I was recently interviewed on her show and found her to be extremely kind and energetic off the air.

    Her ability to make local issues entertaining enough to hold an audience, has enabled her to preserve one of the few serious local news slots from being taken over by a local sports or nationally-syndicated show.

    She will be greatly missed and I hope her family and close friends will find solace from their grief in losing someone so young and energetic.

  10. She was very kind to my family and me. She contacted me on several occasions to check up on things and how we are doing. Too many good people pass away too early but when it is someone who positively touches so many lives as she did, the situation goes from just being sorrowful to tragic. I will miss her professionally and personally, among the thousands who will do so. Rest in Peace “Cucchi.”

  11. Such a sad day for you Jake as I know what a special friend she was to you! A very sad day for all of her listeners as well. I looked forward to going places in the mornings so that I could get my daily Francene Fix…. So very sad and cannot imagine what her poor Mother is going through. I hope you are able to help comfort her Mom as I know Francene would want that at this time….

  12. I actually had a email conversation with Francene a couple of weeks ago about her upcoming shows dealing with politics, she was really gearing up for them by the tone of her responces to me. It will just never be the same during that time frame on the radio. I wish i would have gotten the chance to have known her like all of all should feel fortuniate.

  13. I first started listening to Francene on the radio- the very first day of her inception into the family of 84 WHAS staff. I was getting over a bad time in my life and I needed to listen to a strong heart. I admired the way she would have confidence in her callers and people in general. A few years ago I almost had the pleasure of meeting her at the State Fair. Rest in Peace Francene- You will be missed.

  14. Any time I hear about someone passing away that is close to my age it makes me think about my own mortality. I may not always agreed with Francene I thought she was a little too liberal for me I listened to her show every day. These people become part of your life and part of your family. That is what the true magic of radio is all about: No other media is can become a part you like radio. My thought go out to her coworkers and her family. Thanks Francene for being a part of my family!

  15. I don’t know you…
    I didn’t know her…

    but my heart still aches and I am still shedding tears for your loss… I’m so sorry.


  16. Jake, thank you for sharing what other are saying and feeling about a very special lady. For many of us, she was more than the talk radio host, she was a friend. Checking in to see how things were going in our lives and that we were OK. Francence, today I am not OK. I will miss you and thank you for making a difference while you were here.

  17. I listened to her a lot. I spoke with her not long ago. I called in about a funny happening and her warmth and love of people came right through the phone. Her laugh was infectious. I will miss hearing her. Go softly sweet lady.

  18. I am absolutely heartbroken at the loss of my good friend Francene. She was an amazing woman and she will be sorely missed. I chose to announce my candidacy on her show because of her enthusiastic spirit, encouragement and generous heart. As one of her biggest fans and last guests I am devestated by her death and will miss her deeply.

  19. I admired her braveness!, her smile,her aggressiveness to get the truth!….Loved she identified thecrooks as they deserve, she complemented those deserving, and always knew how to rally support!,,,,I just weep at her loss for the community & listenership……We need to put out a “Besr Of Collection” of some of the hotter shows and sell them> I canthink of many i could listen to over & over,

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