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WMNF general manager Rick Fernandes leaving the station

His last day will be Sept. 10.
Rick Fernandes is stepping down as general manager of Tampa's WMNF-FM 88.5.
Rick Fernandes is stepping down as general manager of Tampa's WMNF-FM 88.5. [ Courtesy of WMNF ]
Published Aug. 19

Rick Fernandes is stepping down as general manger of WMNF 88.5-FM after less than two years in the position.

Fernandes announced Thursday that he was leaving for a role at “major national media organization.” According to a press release from WMNF, his last day will be Sept. 10.

Finance and Administration Director Cindy Reichard is stepping in while the station searches to fill the role. It will be her third time working as interim general manager at WMNF.

Fernandes was hired as general manager in 2019, after Craig Kopp resigned. Kopp had fired Rob Lorei, station co-founder and news director, in February 2019. After Lorei was re-hired by the station, Fernandes fired him again in spring 2021 over an email containing ethnic slurs.

On top of the drama at the station, Fernandes was hired five months before the coronavirus pandemic began. According to the press release, he worked to create an endowment of more than $130,000, invested in a new podcasting studio, increased the staff and programming diversity, and strengthened relationships with local nonprofits.

“Working at WMNF has been a pleasure and an honor,” said Fernandes in the release. “The organization is wholly devoted to serving its region through great journalism and volunteer-driven content, and I’m proud to have played a part in what everyone on this team has accomplished to ensure WMNF remains a pillar of the community for many years to come.”

WMNF is currently seeking “qualified candidates who have a passion for community radio, and an innovative and collaborative leadership style that can continue to create positive change in our area.”