Fans protest Hoover's departure from Columbia's WIS-TV

mlucas@thestate.comJuly 5, 2014 

— About 30 people gathered on the corner of Bull and Gervais Street Friday night outside the WIS studios to protest the decision not to renew anchor/ reporter Ben Hoover’s contract.

“I don’t know why they didn’t renew his contract,” said Kelli Feathers, one of the many who turned out to show her support for Hoover. “And then to not give him the opportunity to have his last broadcast is why we came out.”

After Thursday’s evening broadcast, Hoover informed his Facebook readers that Friday would be his last day on the air at channel 10. But Hoover was noticeably absent from the WIS lineup Friday night.

“Recently, I was informed by station managers that they did not wish to renew my contract,” he wrote on Thursday.

He admitted that the decision by WIS not to renew his contract took him unawares.

“I wish I was in a position to announce the next opportunity for my family and me. But, to be honest, I didn't see this one coming.

So, as we like to say on the news, you'll have to stay tuned. And, maybe say a little prayer for my family and me.”

Reaction to the news flowed quickly in comments to his posting with praise of his work and condemnation of management’s decision. By Friday evening a protest to coincide with the station’s 10:30 broadcast had been organized.

As drivers heading down Gervais Street honked horns or yelled out windows in support, people gathered on the sidewalk talked about the chemistry Hoover had with fellow anchor Judi Gatson.

Longtime WIS watchers Paula Hite and Carol Sloop, of Irmo, said they both enjoyed the way they played off each other.

“I think it’s sad the way it’s been handled,” said Sloop of the decision not to renew Hoover’s contract. “But the amount of support that’s out here tonight is amazing.”

Calls and emails from The State to WIS general manager Donita Todd went unreturned Friday.

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