Familiar faces return to Baltimore TV

WBAL hires Stovall

Barnd returning to WBFF

April 19, 2003|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,SUN TELEVISION WRITER

Two familiar faces will return to the Baltimore airwaves this month. Stan Stovall will start as a weekend morning news anchor on WBAL-TV, one of his former employers, and Jeff Barnd will rejoin WBFF-TV as that station's primary nightly anchor.

Stovall, 50, is one of Baltimore's best-known television news figures. After he was dismissed by WMAR-TV in December 2001, Stovall became an outspoken opponent of the industry practice of placing "non-compete" clauses in contracts that prevent a television journalist from shifting to a rival station for many months. He had been at WMAR for 12 years.

Nonetheless, the part-time assignment is something of a homecoming: Stovall first came to Baltimore in 1978 as an anchor on WBAL.

"I'm just tickled pink to have an opportunity to get my foot back in the door, and to get back on the air in a city that I chose to make my own," Stovall said yesterday. "Obviously, I wanted to continue my career in Baltimore, and WBAL is affording me that opportunity."

He's to be paired with Mindy Basara. Barry Simms, the current male anchor on weekend mornings, will shift his full-time attention to the station's investigative team, according to station officials.

Meanwhile, the 45-year-old Barnd is leaving WLVI-TV in Boston, a corporate sibling of The Sun, to rejoin WBFF. He had been the Fox channel's first anchor for its nightly broadcasts, from 1991 to 1995. He replaces the popular Tony Harris (who left earlier this spring to become an anchor in Atlanta) on WBFF's flagship 10 p.m. newscast and sister station WNUV's 6:30 p.m. news show.

In Boston, a much larger market than Baltimore, Barnd had been the main anchor for WLVI, but he had recently been demoted under new executives there who were unhappy with his jocular delivery, according to news reports.

"We were thrilled he was available - he's top-notch," WBFF news director Scott Livingston said yesterday. "He knows what we stand for. He knows our philosophy for telling stories - and he's not scared of rolling up his sleeves, going out to tell a story and get to work."

Barnd could not be reached for comment.

In addition, WBFF has hired Patrice Harris as a new morning reporter and substitute anchor to replace Nina Edwards, whose contract was allowed to lapse. Harris, a 30-year-old Towson University graduate, last worked at WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Pa.

And Craig Demchak, an experienced reporter and weekend anchor at the station, has been named the local anchor for WBFF's 11 p.m. Late Edition, which blends Baltimore coverage with Sinclair Broadcast Group's centralized reports from around the country.

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