When Serena Mann leaves her north Laurel house every morning, she'll still head for work at a local cable television station. Only now she'll head south, not north.
Today is Ms. Mann's last day as station manager of Cable 15, Howard County government's cable television station. She is leaving to run the University of Maryland's cable station, which broadcasts in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
"It's a growth opportunity for me," Ms. Mann said yesterday. "The audience will be increased by about five times."
At Cable 15, Ms. Mann ran a government cable television station that airs news reports about the government. But the 7 1/2 -minute news reports go beyond what government officials have to say, Ms. Mann said.
"We used to call it neighborhood news you can use," she said.
Ms. Mann said she regrets not being able to extend Cable 15 news coverage with updated news breaks throughout the day. The station films the 7 1/2 -minute segments each morning, edits them in the afternoon and airs them every hour on the hour from 7 p.m. that night to 6 p.m. the next day.
The county station has 10 employees and an annual budget of $431,390, funded from franchise fees paid by Howard's two commercial cable TV operators. Ms. Mann said her salary was in the "low fifties."
At the University of Maryland station, Ms. Mann will explore other types of new shows. Montgomery and Prince George's counties already have local news shows, she said.