With nearly 32 years in the news radio business, Mark Miller was reluctant to leave his post at WBAL Radio. He wasn't sure if he could enjoy another career as much as he did radio.
"When you've had one career and you've done it well, there is a little fear and apprehension of a new challenge," Miller said.
But 17 months after leaving the Baltimore station, Miller believes he has found something more enjoyable.
Instead of being the voice on the radio, Miller is now the voice of the Howard County Department of Communications, serving as the administrator of the Office of Public Information.
"This is being on the other side of issues, and I kind of like that. I find it to be exciting and challenging," said Miller, who began his new job in November.
Miller, 54, said a combination of things led him to leave his position in July 2011 as Director of News and Programming at WBAL.
His mother had recently died, he and his wife adopted a 14-month-old baby girl and he just felt it was the right time for a career change.
"It was a confluence of a lot of personal things going on for me that said if I'm going to have another career this is really the time to do it," he said.
A good opportunity
After leaving WBAL, Miller knew he would go back to work at some point, but wanted to take some time off.
"I think anybody who works more than 30 years for the same company deserves a couple of months to catch their breath and enjoy life for a little bit," he said, laughing.
Miller was introduced to Howard County Executive Ken Ulman through a mutual friend in 2011, and the timing of a job offer to work in Howard County came at a perfect time.
"This seemed like a great time for me to come on board with a guy who, in my mind, is a brilliant leader and a dynamic guy who has a vision for how he can make his county a better place. I can learn from a person like that," Miller said. "It was too good of an opportunity to pass up."
With longtime county government spokesman Kevin Enright leaving, Ulman said he was intrigued by Miller, who had a reputation as a "rock-solid newsman and a consummate professional."
"After talking to him several times and realizing his commitment to new media and his broad skill set, I was more convinced than ever that he would be a valuable member of our team," Ulman said.
Enright, a member of Ulman's staff since 2006, left in November to become the executive director of strategic initiatives with the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Miller's job duties include disseminating news releases to the public and media through the county website and social media, responding to resident's phone calls or emails and accompanying the county executive for news conferences or other community events.
Although his work is still subject to deadlines, Miller said the new job is not as time sensitive and it's not the end of the world if something happens one minute late, unlike radio.
"It's not like you're facing a minute of silence on the air," he said. "It's a different kind of thing, it's a different kind of pressure."
In just a few weeks on the job, Ulman said Miller has fulfilled the potential he saw in him.