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Radio veteran Dan Dillon to leave KFDI

Say goodbye to the voice of calm during the storm.

Dan Dillon, news director of KFDI-FM and KLIO-AM – and the unruffled voice during hundreds of Wichita area storms – will leave the stations on Feb. 8 after nearly 34 years. He will become media coordinator for incoming Sedgwick County district attorney Marc Bennett beginning Feb. 11

Dillon, 60, said he has known and admired Bennett for years, so when he was offered the job, he took it.

“This was a good time to step away and try something different,” he said.

He started his career as a reporter at a station in Omaha and was lured to Wichita to become the news director after the station was bought by Mike Oatman and Mike Lynch.

He found that the news culture at KFDI let the station shine during Wichita’s severe weather season. Even now, when the weather grows violent, the station’s reporters drive out in their “mobile units” looking for trouble.

Sometimes Dillon drove mobile unit 21, and sometimes he coordinated coverage back at the station.

He recalled an incident during the 1990 Hesston tornado when reporter John Wright, on the edge of both the storm and radio range, cut out.

“I thought the tornado had got him,” Dillon said. “When he came back on I was really glad. I was feeling panic, but I had to stay composed because I was on the air.”

He said leaving a job he had done for so long is tough, but he’s looking forward to something new.

“It’s difficult to leave here, putting newscasts together,” he said. “I’m still pretty competitive, trying to get stuff first, asking, ‘How did we miss this?’

“It’s just time to make a change.”

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