The White House announced Thursday the appointment of Dick Lobo, president and chief executive of Tampa PBS station WEDU-Ch. 3, to head the International Broadcasting Bureau — the government department that runs Voice of America and the broadcast news outlets aimed at Cuba, and Radio and TV Marti.
Lobo, 73, still must be confirmed by the Senate, so he may not be leaving Tampa soon. But the executive, whose wife, Caren, spearheaded fundraising for Barack Obama in Florida during the 2008 presidential election, will eventually leave for Washington, D.C., if confirmed, working under the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Last year, Lobo announced plans to retire from WEDU seven years after taking the reins at the then-troubled station. He had already come out of retirement to help the Tampa outlet weather a fiscal crisis, having spent the first 40 years of his working life at commercial network TV affiliates in New York, Miami and Chicago.
This latest appointment isn't entirely new for Lobo. In 1994, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to run the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which oversees Radio and TV Marti, which regularly face criticism from political opponents. They say the stations are often jammed by the Cuban government and are a waste of money.
A grandson of Cuban immigrants, an Ybor City native and a graduate of the University of Miami, Lobo will be inducted into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame in March.
WEDU has hired a search firm to help replace Lobo.
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.