Home Miami TV (Update) Exclusive: WFOR Fires Josh Benson Allegedly Because of Aereo Review

(Update) Exclusive: WFOR Fires Josh Benson Allegedly Because of Aereo Review

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WFOR CBS4 CBS Miami

Josh Benson WFOR CBS4 morning anchor. CBS Miami

 

 

 

 

Update: Here’s the official statement from WFOR to SFLTV:

WFOR-TV has terminated the employment of Josh Benson for his operation of a personal website that streamed the station’s newscasts without the knowledge and consent of the station.

I asked for more information, and whether Benson’s firing really had nothing to do with his review of Aereo, the reply I received was:

Correct – It has nothing to do with Aereo. We stand by the statement

And there you have it. You can choose whether to believe the WFOR or not. It just strikes me as a bit… harsh… to fire your leading man on the spot, and break up the team that’s holding up the only newscast you have that’s doing well. Don’t you think?

The first time Josh Benson tweeted his review of Aereo, on his personal website, was at 6:44pm on August 29th. He did it again the next day, on August 30 at 5:34:43 am, while he was at work. It is possible WFOR or CBS management went to check his Aereo review, and then came across the live streaming link for CBS4 newscasts. But then Benson had been streaming the CBS4 newscasts  since at least July of this year – and it’s not known whether he simply embedded the video from WFOR’s website or if he streamed right from his home via something like Ustream. The reason why I think there’s more to this story is because CBS employed the scorched earth approach when CNET was about to give Aereo their CES 2013 award, and the network didn’t flinch at the tsunami or criticism they got on tech blogs.

WFOR fired morning anchor Josh Benson on Friday. The sudden firing of an anchor who leads the only newscast that does well in ratings is suspicious to say the least. And even though everyone is avoiding talking about what happened, SFLTV knows the alleged reason Benson was shown the door.

Allegedly, WFOR/CBS fired Josh Benson because he wrote a review of Aereo that he published on his personal website. He also mentioned Aereo several times on Twitter and seemed to be liking the service. Benson has since removed his Twitter account, and his personal site is down as well.

WFOR owner CBS has been involved in a very bitter battle against Aereo for some time now, without much success. The network famously forbade staffers of its subsidiary CNET, from awarding Aereo their Best of Award at CES 2013.

Josh Benson joined WFOR last year from WFTV in Orlando, replacing Jawan Strader who left for WTVJ

 

 

22 COMMENTS

  1. Got to be more to it. No one writes favorable remarks about the company feuding with your own boss and expects to keep their job I don’t care how personal he thought the social source he was using is. Well, just go to 6. With his numbers they will hire him over the phone. I would suggest 10 but they are not sharp enough to make the call.

  2. I used to like Channel 4 — but since Jeff Beradelli is moving to Ch.12, and David Bernard will leave soon –now Jason– something must be very wrong with their mgmt. Scott Padgett has already left WPLG . Are the “busty” females really going to be up for the job when we really have a hurricane? We’re losing too many GOOD men. What a cutthroat business.

  3. Josh is a pro who took his AM Gig very seriously and worked very well with everyone around him.
    While CBS has strict policies about outside work, expressing an opinion about a product on a personal blog doesn’t sound like a “death penalty”. There’s probably a lot more to it, and hopefully for Josh, it’ll lead to much bigger and better things. Don’t look back and take it as an opportunity.

  4. Bad move on CBS4 to lose such a talented man like Josh Benson. He should be allowed to share his opinion on a personal blog. Another empty anchor desk at CBS4. What are they going to do now…add Elliot in the AM too?

  5. Seems TV stations fire for anything these days; what happened to the days of warnings? Guess we really dont have free speech

    • That all girl’s club for morning news sucks. They better get a male anchor and soon. Please don’t think that girl Summer is going to work. She butchered the Saturday morning traffic report so bad you would have thought she was a high school junior. She is not going to train on my time so it is back to 7 for me.

      • Sportsfreak, you have to remember that Josh was fired the same day that Rhiannon Ally was to leave for maternity and they were bringing in Summer Knowels to take over for her (or that’s what they implied). Maybe they brought her in because they had preplanned the firing.

        I think Josh was OK, but sometimes he seemed like such a dunderhead. Anchors, really good anchors (and reporters), read everything and know as much about everything as they can so they can make better comments and know when their copy is wrong. Jawaan had this problem, to, making ill informed small talk over an incident I knew something about.

        Cynthia Demos rules!

  6. I nearly had to do a double take when I read this earlier today. I cannot believe all of the chaos over at WFOR right now. FOR is making WPLG look like they have their act together!

  7. You can see that Josh Benson clearly was not happy there at WFOR, nor was he comfortable living downtown Miami.

    He goes on vacation back home to beautiful Minnesota to use up his paid time off; comes back to the rat race in Miami; probably makes online posts because he was strategically trying to get fired; Summer works the desk between he and Rhiannon for a couple of days for some on-the-job training because everyone knows he had one foot out of the door; and then he is out the door.

    I think that the morning show at WFOR is now complete. Now they should focus on replacing Cynthia Demos in the evening.

    • Disagree, Cynthia is great. I would rather see her in the mornings and Rhiannon on the road, but I assume Cynthia has to have time with the baby. Rhiannon started great, but one day she made ill informed comments about a news event that showed she had no real knowledge of what was going on. I gave her the benefit of the doubt as a momentary brain freeze but it’s happened several more times. To be a reporter, you need to know everything about everything. its a constant learning thing, not just a glamour thing reading the news.

  8. Dear CBS, nice job on reporting the firing of Josh Benson. Your all female line up is at best lame. I’ll be getting my news elsewhere

  9. Tv news junkie too!
    Too many ladies now…
    It is good to have a man there, you know.
    Rhianon must now look for a new job.
    They will have to change the all female show and bring a male and one of the girls must be removed. They will not be able to remove the one they just put in, so…

    • Well, Rhiannon is expecting, so she’ll be going out on maternity leave in a few months, who knows what will happen after that. Maybe her temporary? replacement might be a male (Brian Andrews?)

      • Brian got real flirty one day and then he was gone–maybe that’s when Josh came back from vacation–but I knew he was having fun on the set, which works for morning, but I think he went a wee bit too far.

  10. Haha, Josh was lame and the only reason they brought him in to anchor was because his girlfriend was the morning producer. Funny, they let an exceptional news anchor to go to bring his sorry butt in. I quit watching when that other new anchor got pushed out. NBC ROCKS!

  11. Again, Helen. Josh B was there before his gf. She never worked on the same show as him. She was the 6PM producer. I worked there before each of them.

    Fact check before you troll.

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