Two years after a health scare that 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 that led Giles to give notice after nearly three decades delivering the headlines for Tampa Bay area radio listeners. It was the workload.
Giles, 76, said WFLA owner Clear Channel now requires the news staff to also deliver 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 by broadcast. It's the kind of regionalization of news, weather and traffic that has become a norm in the radio industry.
In January 2011, Giles alarmed listeners when he stumbled over words in a news break and seemed to have trouble speaking. He acknowledged later he was hospitalized for a bad case of pneumonia compounded by a brain infection, and 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 '80s to work as a reporter for WTSP-Ch. 10. He became a news anchor at WFLA in 1985.
He displayed 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 contributed to this report.