Ben Hoover’s account of what happened at WIS

For those of you following this ongoing story, Ben Hoover posted this on Facebook last night:

Here’s what I want you to know.

Right now, I don’t have a new job and I need to make sure future employers and my community know why I was led to believe that my place at WIS was secure.

I’ve worked in TV 15 years. I understand and accept that stations have the right to not renew contracts. Especially in situations when ratings might be down or the employee did something wrong, or both sides couldn’t reach a salary agreement. None of those issues applied to me. In fact when I asked why my contract wasn’t being renewed station management assured me I had “done nothing wrong.”brgnP616_400x400

Please allow me to explain what I meant when I said that I was caught off guard. News management had recently slated me to do a follow up to “Hope in Hard Times” this coming November, after my current contract would have expired. They also planned to have a co-anchor with me in the field at Oliver Gospel Mission. The week before I learned my contract would not be renewed I taped station promotions that historically have run for several months. We were far along in the search for a new house. My children were enrolled in school for the fall. That’s why I walked in with a folder with long-term contract options for management to consider. But, I never had the opportunity to open that folder. There were no negotiations. It was made clear that management did not wish to renew early on in that discussion and that I had “done nothing wrong.”

My first contract with WIS was 5 years. My latest contract was one year in length. In both cases, both sides had to agree to terms. Some anchors choose longer contracts. Some choose for even shorter than one year. It’s a personal decision. Never was I told that a one year contract would pave the way for my exit. In fact, we agreed to come back together and discuss longer term options. If I entertained potential advancement within the company, never did management indicate or communicate that it would mean I would not be renewed. I have documented on multiple occasions my happiness with my co-anchors at WIS and my openness to calling Columbia my forever home. And, never in discussions did they indicate that my future at WIS was not an option. In fact, I got a very different response.

I truly appreciate the support from the community. It helps tremendously to keep me going in this short amount of time I have to find a new job. So, from where I sit today, I cannot afford to let vague comments, including those by others outside of the situation and not privy to the details, leave an impression that what happened was something that I did or it was just a parting of ways. That’s simply not true.

My announcement last Thursday was in line with how I was trained, my high standards of journalism, and with what’s been a big part of my career – doing the right thing. Viewers don’t deserve to be caught off guard or wonder for weeks where someone they’ve seen for 6 years has gone. And, nobody deserves to get half of the truth. I’ve always put the viewer first. That’s what I will continue to do. And, it is possible to do that while still being a loyal employee.

I don’t know where my next job will take my family and me. I’ve been put in a position to consider anything and everything. Right now, Columbia is home. And, in order to move on both professionally and personally I needed to fill in some blanks so that there would not be any questions that could negatively impact my family or my pursuit to find another job.

10 thoughts on “Ben Hoover’s account of what happened at WIS

  1. O

    Thanks for posting! Those of us who’ve been in corp management HR know the behavior pattern described in this type situation and detest this type of treatment of employees by superiors. While I don’t rely that much on Sic Willie, I do find a kernel of truth in some of his postings. It’s really interesting to note the “censorship” that 10 is taking on their FB and other social media relative to this incident. I’ve had my wife check it out on FB (both 10’s and DT’s page) and FITS evidently is right on. Have also seen these comments relative to 10’s censoring on The State’s comments section on their new posting (on their website) re Ben’s removal.

  2. scout

    So they told him he had done nothing wrong, but unless I missed it, they still didn’t give their reasons for not renewing his contract,….. or maybe they did and Ben didn’t share it.

    I think we still don’t have the whole picture. Possibly we won’t ever.

    1. Kathryn Braun Fenner

      I think Bierbauer’s point was that they don’t need any reason to not renew.

      1. Barry

        They don’t – but Ben Hoover was talking about Bierbauer when he said this above

        “So, from where I sit today, I cannot afford to let vague comments, including those by others outside of the situation and not privy to the details, leave an impression that what happened was something that I did or it was just a parting of ways. That’s simply not true.”

      2. scout

        I understand that they are not obligated to give a reason, but clearly they must have a reason to have done it, even if they aren’t telling. I would personally find it hard to have a conversation like that without giving a reason. But I understand it happens.

        1. Kathryn Braun Fenner

          There is the official reason, which is no renewal as of right, and the unofficial reason, which is probably that someone got offended by his lack of fealty…

  3. bud

    FITS is hardly a reliable source of accurate information so anything they say should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt.

    As for Ben, let’s hope he finds something quickly so he doesn’t end up like the Oliver Gospel guys he reported on a while back. I found his on-air presence refreshing. Good luck Ben.

    As for WIS. I probably will watch the competition more than in the past. This episode just doesn’t look right.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Well, there is a bit of a difference between something being actionable as defamatory and something being just incorrect. I don’t go over to his site hardly at all, so I don’t really have an opinion on it.

        1. Silence

          I stopped going when he stopped posting pictures of hot chicks – he tried to clean the place up in anticipation of Nancy Mace’s failed Senate bid.

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