Two anchors from WBAL-TV are leaving their jobs, part of a series of unrelated shifts at the top-rated Baltimore news station.
Morning news anchor Marilyn Getas will be replaced by Mindy Basara, a reporter and weekend morning anchor who has been with WBAL-TV since 1998.
Absent the opportunity to move into a more prominent anchor slot here, Getas said she would have preferred to stay in her current job. But she could not come to terms with the station on a new contract. Her final day is June 4, and she is pursuing other television news jobs. "I've had an absolute great run at WBAL," Getas said. "I was very much hoping to remain part of the morning show."
"Marilyn is extremely professional," said news director Michelle Butt. "I appreciate her contributions so much." Butt conceded financial considerations played a role in the decision to let Getas leave, but her hopes for advancement may not have been possible at WBAL-TV.
Getas came to Baltimore in January 2001 from a small sister station in Northern California.
Weekend sports anchor Sarah Caldwell has accepted a job with Traffic Pulse, the service that provides traffic reports for the station. After the birth of her second child this year, Caldwell decided that she could no longer work on weekends, Butt said.
Caldwell, who first arrived in Baltimore in fall 2002, actively pursued an opening there for a weekday traffic reporter, Butt said. Caldwell could not be reached for comment.
The station's news ratings have been strong. During the May "sweeps" period that ends tonight, WBAL-TV is likely to win the largest audiences in Baltimore for its evening and late-night newscasts.
Caldwell will be replaced by Pete Gilbert, currently a weekend sports anchor for WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Pa. "I started here as an intern in '95," Gilbert said yesterday. "It's a homecoming for me." He had previously worked in Missouri and Arkansas.
Gilbert is freelancing for the station until his start date is set. His wife, Megan McHale, is a full-time reporter at WBFF-TV after working part-time for WBAL-TV this year. "We're thrilled to have her," said Scott Livingston, news director for WBFF-TV.
WBAL-TV assistant news director Brandon Sherer is also set to leave the station for family reasons after the end of the sweeps period. "I've a young son at home - 8 months old - and I just want to relax, unwind a bit and spend some time with him," Sherer said. Some of these changes were first reported by DCRTV.net, a regional industry Web site.