The news director of WBAL-TV announced yesterday that she would leave the station, saying personal ties were luring her back to Philadelphia.
"I have decided to quit, for the first time in my crazy career, to care about my personal life," Margaret Cronan said yesterday in an interview. She said she decided to move to avoid the long-distance relationship she has been maintaining with her boyfriend, who lives there.
Cronan, 38, also referred to job opportunities that are likely to arise in Philadelphia once her current contract ends. And, she says, her parents still live in Reading, Pa., about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
Cronan, the chief news executive of the Hearst-Argyle station, arrived in Baltimore two summers ago from the company's sister station in West Palm Beach, Fla. Since then, the station has enjoyed strong popularity with viewers, as it vies with WJZ-TV for the region's news and overall ratings titles.
Bill Fine, WBAL-TV's general manager and president, said he had sought to keep her. "That's a gutsy decision for anyone to make, but I absolutely support her for it," Fine said. "I hate to lose somebody like that."
Cronan has directed coverage of a series of major stories, including the CSX train fire, the sniper shooting spree in the Washington suburbs, and the terror attacks. She has also focused the station more on its investigative efforts and adopted a new traffic monitoring system.
"She lent an enthusiasm and left an intelligent and creative imprint on the product," said WBAL-TV reporter Dave Collins, part of the investigative team. "She will be missed."
Also this week, the station named Baltimore veteran Stan Stovall, now a weekend morning anchor, as its full-time morning and noon anchor on weekdays. He replaces Sade Baderinwa, who is going to WABC-TV, a major station in New York City.
A headline in Saturday's Today section attributed an incorrect job title to departing WBAL-TV news director Margaret Cronan.The Sun regrets the error.