Tonight WBFF-TV (Channel 45) launches "News at Ten." And News Director Mark Pimentel says the nightly hourlong show is going to be different from anything Baltimore has seen.
"We're going to add excitement to the way we tell stories," the 34-year-old Pimentel said last week at the station's new studios on West 41st Street.
The key difference between "News at Ten" -- which, as its name indicates, will air at 10 p.m. -- and its competitors will be more visually interesting pictures (in terms of editing) and a friendlier anchor desk, Pimentel asserted.
He said co-anchors Jeff Barnd and Lisa Willis knew each other before joining Channel 45 and had "instant rapport" -- something he feels not all of his competitors have.
"WJZ is the only station locally where you see a lot of warmth and people seem to genuinely like each other," he said.
What Channel 45 will have that top-rated Channel 13 doesn't, he also claimed, is aggressive coverage:
"Sometimes WJZ does not have the best 'newscast' in terms of true news. Maybe it's the most entertaining, but it isn't necessarily the most informative. . . . They're not always the most aggressive in terms of coverage."
The optimism of opening day dominated Pimentel's remarks, but Channel 45 has its work cut out for it. Pimentel promises more "live" reports. Yet, Pimentel has no satellite uplink truck; with his two microwave relay trucks he cannot broadcast live beyond about 40 miles from the studio.
Pimentel also promised a regional newscast each night, but has only six full-time reporters to do it with. That's less than half the number at each of the other stations.
"It is harder when you have less people to cover more territory." he admitted. "Maybe we have to be a little bit smarter and out-think some of the others and make our choices for the right reasons. It can be done."