WMNF Tampa fires host, staffer and co-founder Rob Lorei

The station says there will be a national search for a news director.

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click to enlarge WMNF 88.5-FM in Tampa, Florida. - Ray Roa
Ray Roa
WMNF 88.5-FM in Tampa, Florida.

UPDATED: 4:30 p.m. 2/18

Rob Lorei has been with Tampa community radio station WMNF 88.5-FM since the beginning. Lately, you could hear the Best of the Bay-winning media personality as the host of daily, hour-long talk show Radioactivity.

Not anymore.

Calls to Craig Kopp, WMNF’s general manager, have yet to be returned, but WMNF did take to social media to confirm that Lorei — WMNF’s News and Public Affairs Director, and a member of the group which founded the station almost 40 years ago — has been given walking papers. 

“We are deeply grateful to Rob for all he has done for WMNF. Rob is one of the co-founders of WMNF and has represented the station well in the community over the years,” the station wrote.

“We wish Rob well in all his future endeavors.”

The station added that there there will be a national search for its next news director.

“WMNF news will continue on a path of creating a newsroom for the 21st Century, a multi-platform community resource for information about local issues and how national and international issues affect the Tampa Bay area,” WMNF added.

"Nobody in this building is happy today," Kopp told CL in a phone call on Monday afternoon. He said that he's limited in what he can say since the change is a personnel matter, but reiterated WMNF's statement about a new direction for the station's newsroom.

"I've been in this business since 1974," Kopp said, "and this is by far the singular, worst day that I've ever had."

Lorei, for his part, told Florida Politics that he's being fired, in part, because of low ratings in the 1 to 3 p.m. time slot. Lorei detailed an exchange he had with Kopp and told reporter Joe Henderson that, "Their (news) release tried to make it seem like we parted ways or something, but he fired me. He gave me 15 minutes to leave the building. That’s not a very nice way to end 40 years at the station.”

There is a Monday night board of directors meeting, and Lorei told FlaPol that he plans to attend. 

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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