After a year off the air, fan favorite Ben Hoover is back Wednesday night, in his new role as co-anchor on ABC’s WOLO-TV news.
Hoover and Alicia Barnes will head up the news broadcasts at 6 and 11 p.m. news slots.
Hoover and WOLO have been tight-lipped about the union, with Hoover just last month only allowed to acknowledge that he was newly hired by the station. He told The State at the time that “more details will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.”
The station’s Facebook page was getting enthusiastic comments from fans after the announcement of his return Wednesday night, with comments like “What a great team,” “I will watch the news tonight!” and “WIS-TV your huge loss!”
Hoover previously worked at WIS-TV for six years, but told fans on social media in early July 2014 that his contract was not being renewed. Hoover fans protested WIS’s decision for weeks, picketing in front of the downtown Columbia station and ranting on social media. There was even a “Honk 4 Hoover” campaign, in which drivers were encouraged to blow their horns whenever they passed the WIS-TV station’s studios at Bull and Gervais streets.
Because of a non-compete clause in his contract with WIS, Hoover was barred from joining any TV, radio or cable affiliate for one year after his contract was terminated. He went on to found BHM, BenHooverMedia, focusing on “content marketing” which allowed businesses, nonprofits, etc. to “tell their own experiential stories on their own websites and social media.”
This will be Hoover’s first broadcast since July 4, 2014.
Hoover could help WOLO ratings. In the most recent ratings from stationratings.com, the newscast for WIS was ranked first, and WOLO fourth.