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End of an Era in Baltimore as WBAL Cuts Longtime Anchor Marianne Banister

Marianne Banister, who has co-anchored WBAL‘s 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts for the past 16 years, is leaving the top-rated NBC-affiliate.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Banister’s contract was not renewed by the station and her last day will be Wednesday.

“I want to make this clear: This is not my choice,” Banister told the Sun‘s David Zurawik. “I’m not retiring. I’m not leaving to ‘spend more time with my family.’”

Banister will have an opportunity to say goodbye to viewers at the end of her final 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts, while also bidding farewell to her longtime co-anchor Rod Daniels. Together, Banister and Daniels are the longest running anchor team in Baltimore.

“Basically, my position has fallen victim to the economy,” she told Zurawik. “The former general manager here, Jordan Wertlieb, made this decision a few months before his move to the New York offices (of station owner Hearst), and he told me, it was purely an economic decision. They had to cut a position. Basically, my contract was the one that came up, so, in essence, I drew the short straw.”

After Banister’s departure, WBAL plans to have Daniels anchor the 11 p.m. news on his own while Donna Hamilton, who currently anchors the station’s 5 p.m. newscast, will join him at 6.

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