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WBAL Radio Friday confirmed that Kendel Ehrlich is leaving the station, and will be replaced Saturday mornings on air by Clarence Mitchell IV starting tomorrow.

Both general manager Ed Kiernan and news director Mark Miller characterized the move as something Ehrlich had been considering at least since the election in November that saw her husband, Bob, defeated by Martin O'Malley in the governor's race.

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Miller and Kiernan said Ehrlich was making the move in an effort to spend more time at Saturday sports events involving her family.

Ehrlich, who also regularly appeared on a weekly roundtable show Friday afternoons on the station, will no longer be part of that group either for the immediate future, Miller said. He added, however, that she had an invitation to be one of several guests who will be involved in the roundtable as the station works to expand the cast of participants and re-brand it as a "stand-alone show." If she does appear on that show, it would not be until February, according to Miller.

When asked if Ehrlich quitting her Saturday morning show had anything to do with WBAL newsroom staffers pressing Bob Ehrlich for comment on the election day robocalls made by a consultant working for his campaign, Miller said, "No, not at all."

Bob Ehrlich had been on his wife's show at least twice since the election, and each time he declined to answer questions from WBAL Radio about the robocalls.

On Dec. 10, WBAL-TV investigative reporter Jayne Miller tried to question Bob Ehrlich when he came to the station to pick her up after a Friday-afternoon appearance, and he and his wife stormed out of the building. You can read about it here.

Kendel Ehrlich hosted the Saturday show only once after that.

In offering what he described as a "little perspective," Miller said discussions about the future of Saturday mornings at WBAL "pre-dated the election."

Until July when Bob Ehrlich became a formal candidate for governor, he and his wife co-hosted the show, a situation of some controversy given the fact that he was raising money and clearly running against O'Malley before it became a formality. Democrats saw the show as a "two-hour campaign commercial" for Ehrlich, and, as I have written several times, it was a relentlessly partisan show that hit the same anti-O'Malley themes repeatedly.

Essentially, what's being said by WBAL management is that Kendel Ehrlich is quitting her show to spend more time with her family. Of course, I cannot say whether that is true or not. But, let's be frank, that has become a somewhat generic and cliched explanation in recent years -- often masking deeper issues.

I also wonder how long-time listeners will feel about Kendel Ehrlich leaving the Saturday morning airwaves in this abrupt way without taking a show to say goodbye to those who invested their time and spent their Saturday mornings with her in recent years.

Mitchell's show will air from  7 to 11 a.m. Saturdays. It will be live -- not a replay of a weekday show.

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