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Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Ernie Zuniga's touching goodbye video

Ernie Zuniga officially signed off FOX 29 San Antonio KABB's "FOX News First" Tuesday, May 23, 2023, with a heartfelt goodbye to the audience he seemed to love so much. 

Bottom line, Zuniga said he decided to leave, but isn't ready to be totally done with TV like so many others these days.

Here is a transcript of his touching words to his San Antonio morning television viewers:

"Well, it's come down to this now, our final few moments together. And here we go. You know, I'm one of the lucky people in the world. I found something once upon a time that I always wanted to do, and it brought me here and this space for the last 17 years, you know, to help create a brand new morning show from scratch. 

I mean, Fox News First was literally conceived on a piece of paper back in 2005, and the tapes of early rehearsals were recorded over years ago and probably for the better because they were really hard to watch. But now here we are today. It's been an absolute honor and a privilege to come into your homes and businesses every day. And Lord knows we've been through a lot together. You know, you help me celebrate the birth of my three kids. You comforted me on the death of my mother ten years ago. We've had amazing highs. We've had birthdays and weddings, celebrations. We've had Spurs championships. Last week, we had Wembanyama Mania. We've had stories of bravery and perseverance, you know, everyday people just overcoming long odds and doing extraordinary things. You know, we've laughed a lot, but our emotions have also been tested. There have been some terrible lows, unspeakable crimes, loss of life, extreme weather, the Texas freeze, a worldwide pandemic, virtual learning newscast anchored from home.

And of course, Uvalde. And my heart and my thoughts are with those families today. I actually wore this tie in honor of the Uvalde High School color. And I'm thinking about those people today and tomorrow and beyond. 

My goal from day one was to inform you and maybe entertain you occasionally along the way to take the news seriously, but to not take myself seriously, to be truthful and honest, relatable, puro San Antonio. Of course, I haven't done that alone. You know, I've had plenty of help along the way. Some amazing men and women who've graced this studio, the control room, the newsroom and beyond, those who came in as guests and those whose job it was to be here, they made our show better and they made me a better person. So in the last two weeks, I've heard personally from every co-anchor that I've ever had here Kimberly Crawford, Monica Taylor, Jessica Headley, Breanna Barrs, Mayde Gomez, and of course, Ashley. I became a godfather to Monica's daughter and I became an online minister so that I could preside over Breanna's wedding, all because of this job, this show. It's pretty special. You know, content is important, don't get me wrong. But for me, it's always been the people, the people that make this show so unique and special, but not just on this side of the camera.

 It's you guys as well, the thousands of viewers who have reached out over the years on social media. You sent me story ideas. You sent me Fiesta medals. You've seen me out at HEB or at a restaurant or at UTSA football games at Fiesta or wherever you've sustained me and you've made getting up at 2:30 in the morning worth it. Of course, none of this would have ever been possible without my amazing and supportive family my dad, my late mother, my in-laws. 

But it all starts with my wife, Tammy. I mean, she's been with me since the day I started my TV anchoring career 27 years ago. She's kept our kids and our house in order every single day, especially in the mornings. And tomorrow morning, for the first time ever, I will be a stay at home dad. I will wake up with my kids. I will make breakfast for them, and I will take them to school myself and I will enjoy every single minute of it. 

So to be clear, this decision to end my time here, it is my own. I made the decision, the unbelievable outpouring of support that I've received since I made this announcement two weeks ago has far exceeded my wildest expectations.

Family and friends and co-workers, viewers and strangers offering kind words of support and encouragement. They've allowed me to deal with the unprecedented emotions that I'm feeling right now about my decision to step away. I don't know what my next chapter is. That's the honest truth. But I do know I'm definitely not retiring. My family and I are going to stay here in San Antonio, and I hope that this will not be the last time that you see me in front of a camera. 

I've been doing this since I was 16 years old. It's who I am. So whatever my next chapter will be and wherever I end up, I will find a camera and I will have something to say because I'm not really ready to bring to give this up yet. I should say I'm not ready to give it up yet. And I'm going to miss Ashley and Brad as I bring them in here to round this out because I'm about to lose it, I think. But do you guys have been amazing And I can think of no, two better people I'd rather spend these final few moments with and with you guys."

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