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Tampa market manager for Clear Channel Radio to retire

He's managed Clear Channel Radio outlets through the largest single FCC indecency fine in history, the firing of the town's top shock jock and a hoax that had the world convinced a local station was going to play Led Zeppelin-related songs 24 hours a day.

But Dan DiLoreto is preparing to leave the limelight at the end of this year, retiring as Tampa market manager for Clear Channel Radio, a post where he has overseen the eight area radio stations owned by the company. The surprise move caps a 44-year career, but doesn't signal the approach of big layoffs or wrenching change, DiLoreto said.

"There's nothing looming. … I just said enough's enough," added the manager, who said he planned to retire last year, but put it off. "Why not walk away when you have your health and energy?"

After graduating from the University of Florida, DiLoreto spent a few years working for the Miami Herald before taking a general sales manager job for Cox Broadcasting in Miami. By the mid '80s, he was market manager for WXTB-FM 97.9 (98 Rock) in Tampa, overseeing a 1989 prank that became a worldwide hoax when they transitioned WXTB's format to hard rock with 18 days of Led Zeppelin music, insisting the station's format would remain that way indefinitely.

DiLoreto was the company's top local manager in 2004, when the Federal Communications Commission levied a $755,000 fine against shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, then on 98 Rock. The penalty prompted Clear Channel to fire Clem, sparking a rivalry that remains as the jock broadcasts on Cox Radio's WHPT-FM 102.5 (The Bone).

"I wouldn't trade my nine years with Bubba for anything," DiLoreto said. "That's what kept the job so fresh; every day there were new surprises."

Tampa market manager for Clear Channel Radio to retire 11/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 19, 2010 7:33pm]
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