For nearly 40 years, Mike Mulcahy has covered Minnesota politics. Enough is enough.
The veteran broadcaster, respected for his deep knowledge and steady composure, is retiring. His last day at Minnesota Public Radio is Friday.
"I'm old and I'm tired," the 62-year-old broadcaster said Monday in a phone interview. "There's always been long hours. You sometimes sit outside closed doors waiting for someone to emerge to tell you what the deal is. But in recent years, politics has gotten kind of ugly. That certainly didn't help."
If Mulcahy was getting fed up, it was never apparent on the air. The station's senior editor and host of "Politics Friday" never lost his cool. That demeanor came in handy when he was tapped to serve as interim managing editor after COVID-19 hit and during the aftermath of George Floyd's murder.
"Mike has been one of the defining voices and journalistic minds at MPR News for decades," said MPR president Duchesne Drew. "His commitment to our listeners and to his colleagues have made him a real treasure. We will miss him but celebrate Mike starting his next chapter in life."
Laura McCallum, who worked at MPR before becoming the Star Tribune's politics & government editor, praised her former colleague for being a compassionate and supportive leader.
"When I came back to the Capitol after maternity leave, I worried about juggling work and caring for an infant," she said. "Mike said, 'Don't worry, you've got this.' He gave me this book titled 'You Already Know What to Do.' I set it in front of my computer and whenever I felt overwhelmed, I'd look at that book for inspiration."
Mulcahy, who also spent a stint at Twin Cities Public Television in the '90s, doesn't have retirement plans beyond visiting family members who live out of state and doing long neglected home projects, like fixing the storm windows. Right now, he's just trying to get through the week.
"I'm a little surprised how much of a fuss everyone is making," said Mulcahy, who grew up in St. Paul. "I get very uncomfortable being the focus of a story."