NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Longtime WCBS 880 Connecticut bureau chief Fran Schneidau died Tuesday night. She was 79.
Fran began her radio career at WICC in Bridgeport but it was at WCBS 880 where she made her home. She began reporting at WCBS in 1978 and never looked back.
Fran retired in February and was celebrated far and wide for her work, her influence and the person she was. Fran was part of the family and today that family is in mourning.
Speaking on WCBS 880 Wednesday morning, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said the following about Fran: “As sad as I am about her passing, I can’t talk about her without a smile on my face. She was just that kind of person,” Malloy told news anchor Joe Avellar. “She was wonderful and kind and did her homework and always prepared. She was an inspiration for anyone in the reporting business. She really was just a special person – you’ve all lost a great friend and great inspiration.”
Conn. Sen. Richard Blumenthal also called in to WCBS880 and said Fran “was warm, endearing and really positive about people.”
He called her “relentlessly optimistic” who did her job with “consummate professionalism.”
Fran covered Blumenthal for decades and he remembered “she asked the smartest questions. They weren’t meant to be ‘gotcha.’ They were meant to elucidate a topic and tell her listeners what was really important.”
Blumenthal said “she loved people, she loved listening to people. She loved their stories.”
On the day of her retirement, Malloy declared Feb. 3 “Fran Schneidau Day” in Connecticut.
The governor also issued a statement Wednesday:
“For nearly forty years, Fran’s voice was heard delivering news from the State of Connecticut to millions of radio listeners throughout the greater New York City metropolitan area, and she did it with class, reputability, and her own trusted style. She dedicated her profession to journalism, and was respected by so many – including numerous young and upcoming reporters who consistently site her as an inspiration. We will miss Fran, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues at WCBS.”
Malloy also said Fran was the only reporter he ever sang happy birthday to and said we should all emulate her “great, great behavior.”