Former Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy'' Cianci Jr. bid adieu to his working life Friday as he readied himself for prison.

His last day as a talk-show host at WPRO-AM ended with a relatively upbeat mood.

"Well, this is it,'' said Cianci, 61, glancing at a clock as his shift ended.

"You can stay longer if you want,'' said co-host Steve Kass.

"No, I think I've done it,'' Cianci replied. He shook hands with Kass and left the studio. Next Friday, he reports to federal prison in Fort Dix, N.J., for a sentence of five years and four months.

Cianci was convicted in June on a racketeering conspiracy charge for heading a wide-ranging bribery scheme out of City Hall. He has maintained his innocence and held out hope for a successful appeal.

"You have to look at life as an experience,'' Cianci told listeners. "You believe in yourself, and you believe in the [judicial] system, and you go on and live with it.''

The colorful Cianci presided over the rebirth of Providence for parts of four decades but decided not to seek re-election after his conviction.

In mid-September he accepted an offer to co-host the Steve Kass Show for two hours each weekday morning. It wasn't his first turn behind a microphone: He had hosted a show on another station from 1984 to 1990, after he pleaded no contest to assaulting his wife's lover with a lit cigarette and a fireplace log. Cianci was re-elected mayor in 1990, and had headed the city since.

On Friday's show, Cianci said he's been preparing for his life behind bars. He knows he can't bring a radio nor drink alcohol. But he said he may try to quit smoking, lose weight and learn Spanish.

"It's like going to a very inexpensive spa,'' he said with a chuckle.