Our special series marking WFAN’s silver anniversary cannot overlook John Minko. His distinct voice is one of only three from the on-air talent pool that has thrived at the all-sports station for 25 years. The other two are Steve Somers and Ed Coleman.
“I’m the original update person on the weekends from midnight til 6, and also was on the street [reporting] for three days during the week,” Minko tells FishbowlNY, moments before returning to the studio for another live sports report.
During the 2000s, Minko was the radio play-by-play man for Army football on WABC and WFAN’s top rival WEPN/(then ESPN 1050).
These days Minko, 59, is one of the station’s main update anchors, handling the afternoon slot, including for Mike Francesa’s show, which is simulcast on the YES Network.
But with his quarter-century logged at the ‘FAN, Minko is also an unofficial station historian.
“I remember everybody’s schedule on air from the very beginning,” Minko says. “Every single person.”
While Suzyn Waldman was the first person on WFAN when it was born, Minko digs deeper for another possible choice.
“If you want to go literally, the first voice on [an ID] promo, was a guy by the name of Chuck Riley, who’s the voice-over person,” Minko recalls.
Minko, who cut his radio chops in Indianapolis, says WFAN management assembled talent from across the country.
“We did not have all that many local people–Howie Rose was–he’s the original host 7 to midnight,” Minko says. “We either had people from around the country or people with network radio experience.”
He cites Lou Boda, Lou Palmer, Dan Lovett, and the lesser-known John O’Reilly.
“[He] was a former TV sportscaster with Len Berman on Channel 4 [WNBC],” Minko remembers. “He came from Houston on weekends. They flew him from Houston to here to do two days worth of updates. That’s a true story.”
As for Minko, a sincere gentleman, he was happy for the full-time opportunity at the ‘FAN, but he had no illusions.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Minko admits. “…When first it was started, I didn’t know what to think. The first month, month and a half, I had my doubts.”
The New Jersey-native, Minko recalls a dinner with his mom that echoes that uncertain time.
“How’s things going?” His mom asked.
“I don’t know if this is going to work out,” He replied.
“Boy, was I wrong,” Minko laughs.