He’s retired and still laughing.
Fran Riley ended his 45 year broadcast career before Thanksgiving, 2019. His most recent stop was at KWQC-TV in Davenport.
The Boston native will make you think you are Jerry Seinfeld-Paul Rudd-Will Ferrell. His laugh is such a great sound to hear and will brighten your day.
I recently had to chance to try out new material with him.
I was delighted when my phone rang with Mr. Riley on the other end. He was thanking me for a phone call and video I made as part of his retirement. I told him I was honored to participate in the party. His goodbye video was a wonderful opportunity to see familiar faces.
Fran’s journey included with people who would become an NFL announcer like Wayne Larrivee, photojournalists like Hank Strunk and Bob Palmer to market mainstays like Thom Cornelis, Dan Pearson and Theresa Bryant.
But the chemistry with Erik Maitland was above all others. The two of them made for appointment watching on the Saturday morning news. The genuine enjoyment was evident each time they had a 2-shot with one another. If YouTube would have been a thing back then, those two would have had their own channel.
Fran had brain tumor surgery in 2011. Following his return to work, the Channel Six news director asked him if he’d like to do features full-time. Fran said yes, and 1,500 stories later, the Fran’s Features was a born and became a mainstay in the station’s 4 PM newscast.
Former KWQC-TV photojournalist Greg Armstrong put together a highlight reel of the first year of features and it still lives today on the internet.
The news business changed a lot in Riley’s career from film, to the lessened use of photographer/reporter teams to now updating Facebook pages. But he told me he’s thankful for the chance to report and be a part of the Quad Cities community.
Those who come after Fran on Brady Street Hill will know who he is as the station named their conference room after him.
The photo is from Joey Donia who is on his second tour at KWQC in the sports department. Joey helped organize the goodbye video along with Macia Lense. Nice job you two, and to all at the station who enjoyed this Iowa treasure.
Fran also is fighting prostate cancer as well. He’s going to take part in water aerobics to help keep in shape and counter medications as he noted on-air in his final broadcast.