Miami’s WFOR-Channel 4 fired morning co-anchor Josh Benson over the weekend — precisely a year after he was hired.
The official line is that Benson, who arrived at the CBS affiliate from Orlando and presented his first newscast August 27, was streaming WFOR newscasts on his tech geek website without permission.
“WFOR 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,” station officials said in a statement.
The website, joshbenson.com, was taken down and Benson couldn’t be reached for comment. Hobbyist web guru Benson simply posted about technology and the Internet.
The TV industry website sfltv.com, which broke the story about the firing, speculated that Benson was let go because he posted about this week’s arrival in the Miami market of the Internet broadcaster Aereo.
CBS and Aereo, which streams local TV on the web, are in a legal battle over programming fees. So happens that WFOR is owned by CBS.
Word in the newsroom is that Benson was hard to get along with and didn’t have many fans in upper management.
“They were looking for an excuse to fire him and they found one,” said a newsroom leader who asked not to be named in this story. “He’s a nice guy but he can rub people the wrong way.”
Easy on the eyes and light on hard-news judgment, Benson was a get for the station’s morning newscasts, where he was paired with Rhiannon Ally.
Within weeks of his arrival, they formed one of the area’s highest-rated morning crew.
“We are very excited to introduce Josh Benson to our viewers,” WFOR news director Liz Roldan said at the time. “His on-air presence, energy, and journalism skills will make him a great addition to our morning team.”