Thursday, July 28, 2011

Farewell Marianne Burgundy...I mean Banister

Marianne Banister signed off this week after 15 years of co-anchoring WBAL’s 6 PM and 11 PM newscast.
I’m not really a devotee of Baltimore’s local newscasts unless events drive me to watch them. I still remember the halcyon days of local news giants like Jerry Turner, Al Sanders, Wiley Daniels, Bill LeFevre, and Oprah Winfrey. Comparatively speaking, the members of this newest crop of local TV news broadcasters seems almost interchangeable to me.
That said, I was very impressed by the graceful manner in which Ms. Banister departed the news desk. Her comments to David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun were a study in candor without bitterness, as these quotes demonstrate:
"I want to make this clear: This is not my choice," she said. "I'm not retiring. I'm not leaving to 'spend more time with my family.' My two girls -- one's 14 and the other's 19, and at this stage, they tend to want you around less," she said kiddingly.

"Banister says that while she obviously would not have chosen to be let go, she bears absolutely no 'animosity' to the station or Hearst."
Her professionalism came across in her final on-air moments as well. So did her sense of humor – even though I am not sure everyone got the joke.
The Sun reported Ms. Banister’s final words as being, "Have a good night, everybody. Stay classy, Baltimore."

In the neo-cult film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the title character played by Will Ferrell always closed his newscasts by saying, “You stay classy, San Diego.”
Coincidence? I think not.
Being a fan of apt usage of obscure movie quotes, I am especially sad to see Ms. Banister leave now.
Thanks for the parting chuckle, Ms. B. And, as far as classy is concerned, thanks for giving Baltimore such a shining example of it.

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