WFLA-AM news anchor Martin Giles to retire after 28 years, citing heavy workload
Two years after a health scare which led some listeners to mistakenly believe he had suffered a stroke on air, WFLA-AM (970) news anchor Martin Giles is ready to retire -- leaving the station after 28 years on March 1.
But it isn't health concerns which led Giles to give his two week notice after nearly three decades delivering the headlines for Tampa Bay area radio listeners. It's the workload.
Giles, 76, said executives at WFLA owner Clear Channel have required the news staff to also deliver news reports for Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and other cities, increasing the pace of his job.
"It's an overload of work they were handing us (and) I've had a little trouble with it," he added. "I am really worn out when I go home on Friday."
Doug Hamand, vice president of programming for Clear Channel in Tampa said everyone on staff now provides content for other cities through the company's I Heart Radio app and also over the air. "We're a content hub," he noted. "If they need extra help (with news, weather and traffic information), we're there to help them."
Back in January 2011, Giles alarmed listeners when he repeatedly stumbled over words in a news break, and seemed to have trouble speaking. Nealy three months later, Giles said he was hospitalized for 10 days, suffering from a bad case of pneumonia compounded by a brain infection. He returned to work in April 2011.
A native of Plant City, Giles started in broadcasting with Armed Forces Radio in the mid '50s; then served as a correspondent for the ABC Contemporary Network in New York before returning to the Tampa Bay area in the early 1980s to work as a reporter for local TV station WTSP-Ch. 10. He became a news anchor at WFLA in 1985, also voicing news breaks for some of Clear Channel's other local stations, interacting with the on air personalities.
"I was in the middle of things with the morning shows back then," he noted. "It's a much different situation now."
To prepare his news reports for Clear Channel's morning radio shows, Giles once said he rises at 2:30 a.m., arriving at his office by 3:30 or 4 a.m. Now he's unsure what he might do next, displaying little sentimentality about leaving a job he has held since the Reagan Administration.
"I'm going to feel relieved," he said when asked how he might feel on his last day.
Times researcher Carolyn Edds contriburted to this report.