WBAL radio has signed Mary Beth Marsden as the new anchor of its "Afternoon News Journal." She will start Sept. 6 at the news/talk station's afternoon drivetime anchor desk.
The former anchorwoman for WMAR-TV replaces Shari Elliker whom the station dropped last week when it declined to offer her a new contract.
Marsden, a fixture on Baltimore TV for two decades, is sure to bring a heightened prominence to WBAL's afternoon drivetime news program -- as well as a veteran sense of news judgment.
“Mary Beth has been a respected journalist in the market for over 20 years. Her news judgment and her genuine commitment to her audience makes Mary Beth a great fit for WBAL”, said Merrie Street, the station's news director.
"I just met her face to face," Street added in a telephone interview Wednesday, "but I've known her for years, because I used to watch her and admire her on Channel 2. I think she's a very genuine person, has great news judgment and news sense. Wow, to be able to grab her for the show and have her as part of the team -- I feel very fortunate to have her."
"I have so much respect for WBAL and the people who have worked there over the years and work there now," Marsden said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "They're veterans and they do news really well. And they treated me like family since I started filling in a year ago. I mean, it works for me. It works for my family. I'm thrilled."
Prior to anchoring WMAR's evening newscasts, Marsden worked at WJLA-TV in Washington, DC, WHSV-TV in Harrisburg, VA, and WNEP-TV in Scranton, PA.
The University of Maryland, College Park graduate lives in Baltimore County with her husband and three children.
Since leaving WMAR, Marsden has founded a popular website dedicated to exploring the spectrum of autism through stories and testimony. Her website is www.reallookautism.com. She will continue the website, Marsden said Wednesday.
In a Sun story last month on anchorwomen and downsizing at Baltimore's TV anchor desks, Marsden said she thought it was harder for middleaged anchorwomen to find a new job than it might be for men.
"... I do believe that a fortysomething or fiftysomething woman probably has a harder time getting rehired than a fortysomething or fiftysomething man. I think it’s harder for her to find that second chapter on TV," she said.
It looks to me as if Marsden might have found a pretty good second chapter with the new job at WBAL.
And it looks like a good deal for WBAL as well.
There has been a lot of change in recent weeks for such a stable radio station: new program director with Dave Hill, new news director with Street replacing Mark Miller, and now Marsden being hired in the wake of Elliker not being renewed.
Lots of change, but the new hires are all from within the local media community.