Rod Daniels is going to have a new partner on the anchor desk starting next month.
WBAL (Channel 11) said it has hired Carol Costello, a 31-year-old TV newswoman from Columbus, Ohio, to co-anchor its weeknight 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.
Channel 11 News Director David Roberts declined to discuss specifics of Costello's contract, except to say, "It's a long-term deal just as Rod Daniels has a long-term deal."
Industry estimates of the going rate for a new first-string anchorwoman in a market the size of Baltimore range between $160,000 and $225,000 a year. Baltimore is the nation's 22nd largest TV market, while Columbus ranks 34th.
"One of our goals is to build a long-term, stable team with the most talented people we can assemble," Roberts said. "This hire is a key part of that strategy."
Channel 11 is last in ratings among affiliates of the traditional networks and has been the site of much change and turnover in recent years.
In September 1991, it canceled its 5 p.m. newscast. Last month, it cut its 6 p.m. newscast from an hour to 30 minutes. It recently added Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts.
There has been turnover in general manager, station manager, news director and on the anchor desk. Roberts is the third news director in three years.
Costello comes to the station from WBNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Columbus, where she co-anchored the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts the past three years. The station is currently in first place at 6 p.m. and second place at 11.
Before joining WBNS, Costello was a weekend anchor at WSYX-TV in Columbus. She is a 1984 graduate of Kent State University in Ohio with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism.
Costello could not be reached for comment, but Bill Vance, news director at WBNS, confirmed her resignation and said her last broadcast at the Ohio station would be tonight.
"She's a super lady, a hard worker . . . and I think she's going to be a great fit for Baltimore," said Vance. "I'm sorry to lose her." Vance added that he believes Costello's strength is in "hard news."
Channel 11's Roberts said that while Costello will join the station Oct. 26, she will not be teamed with Daniels on the anchor desk until some time after the November elections.
"One of her first assignments as a reporter will be covering the Bush campaign," Roberts said. "We also want her to start getting to know the community by using her attributes as a reporter."
Daniels has been anchoring the 11 p.m. newscast alone since January when the station announced it was dropping Pat Minarcin. Carolyn McEnrue has been Daniels' co-anchor at 6 p.m. in recent months. Roberts said McEnrue will return to 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on weekends and "continue in other high-profile assignments."