News director Mark Miller leaving WBAL radio after 31 years

Here's the announcement made to staff from station management

July 12, 2011|By David Zurawik | The Baltimore Sun

Veteran Baltimore newsman Mark Miller is leaving WBAL radio after more than 31 years at the station.

As news director for 21 of those years at WBAL, Miller led one of the most competitive and ambitious radio news operations in the country. The station was recently rewarded for its efforts with another national Murrow Award.

The 52-year-old journalist said changes in his family life in recent years, which have led to him now commuting be out of state on a regular basis, are partially responsible for the decision to leave WBAL. But he said that he also thinks that if he wants to try and have another career, he can't wait much longer.

"Twenty-one years running any newsroom is enough," Miller said only half kiddingly Tuesday in a phone interview.

"I have been very, very lucky to have a wonderful career here at the station," Miller said. "This is a legendary station, and I have always tried to be a responsible steward and hold the station in the public interest for the people of Baltimore. That's always been my job."

As much or more than any journalist in Baltimore, Miller has always tried to serve the public interest, in my estimation.

I came to Baltimore just as he was named news director of the station, and we have worked together (and butted heads) on many stories. And I can think of few journalists here or in network and cable TV who have behaved as ethically as Miller in a time of tumultuous lifestyle and technological change that tests all of us in the media on an almost daily basis.

Newsrooms only achieve the kind of competitive edge that WBAL's has under great leadership, and Miller has been a great newsroom leader for two decades. His last day at the station will probably be July 22nd or 23rd, he said.

He will be missed. But he certainly has my admiration -- and my best wishes for a successful next chapter in his career and life.

Here is the email from Ed Kiernan, the station's vice president and general manager, that was sent to staff this morning announcing Miller's departure:

Earlier today, Mark Miller announced his resignation from WBAL after nearly 32 years on the job.  He’ll be leaving the WBAL family by the end of the month.

Mark started as an editor/producer, and then was a reporter for ten years.  For the last 21 years, he has overseen the news operation.

Being the news director at a station like WBAL can be all consuming if you’re going to do it well.  Mark let me know that at this point in his life, he wants to take on new challenges and write a new chapter to his life.  Most importantly, he wants a new career that will allow him to have a more “normal” life that better suits his family circumstances with his wife and four-year-old daughter.

As a reporter, Mark won two Maryland State Bar Association gavel awards.  He won the Silver Gavel from the American Bar Association.  Twice in the 80s he was recognized by UPI for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Radio.

Under his leadership, the accomplishments of the WBAL News Department speak for themselves.

In 1993, WBAL Radio’s reporting on the fall of Baltimore Comptroller Jackie McLean earned it the Award of Excellence from the Associated Press Broadcasters.  That award is the highest broadcast honor handed out nationally by the Associated Press.

In June 2000, the WBAL News Department won the New York Festival Grand Award, topping more than 1,300 contestants from 37 countries.

But mostly, I am proud of the 21 National Edward R. Murrow Awards earned by the news department during Mark’s tenure.  Ten different members of our staff have won National Murrows in that time, in seven different categories.  And three times, WBAL News earned the Overall Excellence Murrow as the best large market news operation in the country!

1090AM/WBAL Radio is Maryland’s most important and influential radio station thanks to the efforts of Mark Miller.  He is my friend and I will miss him dearly.

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