After just under two years with WMNF, general manager Rick Fernandes will leave the community radio station in September, the station announced Thursday.
He has accepted a position with “a major national media organization,” according to a prepared statement. His last day with WMNF will be Sept. 10.
“Rick truly took WMNF’s community mission to heart,” said Board Chair Will Greaves. “Whether strengthening our finances or our local community partnerships, he always had the station’s long-term success in mind. We wish him all the best in his new role.”
Fernandes had previously served as executive director of the Fred Rogers Center, and as an executive at Time Warner.
He succeeded station manager Craig Kopp, who resigned after a 2019 dust-up with longtime WMNF news director Rob Lorei. Kopp fired Lorei after the newsman made “toxic” comments, and accused him of anti-Semitism. After a public outcry, Lorei was reinstated.
“I love WMNF as a concept and have dedicated myself to setting it up to continue far into the future,” Kopp said in his letter of resignation. “But the reinstatement of Rob Lorei assures that it will remain firmly rooted in the past.”
His successor was involved with Lorei’s second termination this spring. Lorei had allegedly used an “ethnic slur” in an email with a listener. At the direction of WMNF’s board, Fernandes again fired Lorei, a 43-year veteran of WMNF, April 10.
Lorei denied the allegation and defended his actions, which resulted in a public “he said/he said” between Greaves and Lorei. Fernandes remained silent throughout the extended volley of words.
A call to Fernandes was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.