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WMNF-FM station manager resigns after history of controversy

Jim Bennett, station manager for Tampa community radio station WMNF-FM 88.5, has resigned after less then three years in the job, citing personal reasons.

Bennett, 59, sent an e-mail to board members announcing his resignation on Tuesday, according to Letty Valdes, board president of the Nathan B. Stubblefield Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates WMNF.

The station manager had been present at the station's regularly scheduled board meeting on Monday but gave no indication of plans to resign, Valdes said. She could not say why Bennett did not indicate at the meeting that he might quit.

"All I can tell you is that Jim Bennett resigned for personal reasons," Valdes said.

Bennett saw his share of controversy last year, when he announced the layoff of three longtime staff members, a first for the station. Amid public backlash, the layoffs were rescinded after WMNF received an unexpected bequest from a longtime fan.

The station vowed to establish a procedure for any future layoffs, but the controversy left some questioning Bennett's decisions. More controversy came earlier this year, when the station changed its lineup, in part to cope with the addition of more news and information programming at rival WUSF-FM (89.7).

Mercedes Skelton, WMNF's current business manager, will serve as interim station manager until the board can hire a replacement. Bennett came to WMNF in January 2009 after nearly 30 years at the country's first community radio station, KPFA-FM in Berkeley, Calif.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

WMNF-FM station manager resigns after history of controversy 09/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:11am]
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