The most recognizable weather reporting voice on Minnesota radio is retiring.
Mike Lynch, who has brought WCCO Radio listeners his forecasts with enthusiasm and homespun cheer, said Thursday that he reached 40 years on the job Tuesday and he has folded up his work umbrella for the last time.
During his regular gig Thursday morning on AM 830 with Dave Lee, Lynch said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Kathy.
“I have a bittersweet announcement to make that’s been about three years in the making,” Lynch wrote on Facebook, where a warm photo of him and his wife dominates. “I’ve decided to retire from WCCO Radio after 40 years.”
Lynch endeared himself to listeners as a regular guy who enjoyed a corny joke with Lee and others on the air. He routinely gave a nod to WCCO’s statewide reach by giving a temperature in some small town while throwing in the name of a cafe or hardware store.
The 64-year-old Lynch called in to Lee at 6:49 a.m. Thursday to announce his departure, but not before he said, “21 degrees and clear outside of Louie’s Finer Meats in Cumberland, Wisconsin.”
Lee made sure to point out that for all the lighthearted banter, Lynch was all business when it came to urgent weather news involving tornadoes or other severe conditions.
Lynch replied that when reporting stormy weather, he would kick into his “Walter Cronkite mode.”
Lynch said in a telephone interview that he was last on the air officially March 20, but has been absent because trying to work at home during the coronavirus outbreak proved to be “very difficult from my house” in Eagan.
Lynch said he grew up in Richfield listening to WCCO and recalled personalities of days gone by with great fondness.
“When I was delivering morning newspapers, I loved to listen with a transistor radio and laugh out loud at 5 a.m. with Roger Erickson and Maynard Speece,” Lynch continued in his Facebook farewell. “When I came home every day from Holy Angels High School, the ‘Cannon Mess’ was on in our kitchen.”
Lynch attended the University of Minnesota for two years and transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where he received his meteorology degree in 1979.
“I was really horrible when I first came on the air,” he said. “I was squeaky; I was reading everything.”
Lynch said it was the legendary Steve Cannon who stepped in and told management, “ ‘Hey, let me work with this guy.’ ... He was a good teacher.”
Among his greatest pleasures on the air, he wrote, has been broadcasting from the State Fair every year because “I so love meeting and having fun with all of you wonderful people who came up to our broadcast center.”
Looking to the future, Lynch said he will continue to host travel tours and lead astronomy programs and will still “be on ’CCO Radio now and then.”
And in an apparent reference to the upheaval of the coronavirus outbreak, Lynch concluded with, “God willing, I’ll see you at the Minnesota State Fair later this summer!”
What he won’t miss, he said in the interview, is getting up at 3:30 a.m. every workday.
“That’s been removed,” he said. “No more morning-radio jet lag.”