My Name is Randy Hoops and this is my story:
Wednesday Oct 25, 2000 4:10 PM
I was fired today from my job at KOLR-10 television. I have held that job since May 25, 1980.
I went to work at 3 PM and several moments before 4 PM, I received a call from Charles Roberts to have Rene Cook relieve me at Master Control and meet him in Dean Wasson's office. I went down there slightly after 4 PM. Charles was in the office when I came in, but popped out immediately. Dean came in and sat at his desk briefly. I sat on the couch. Charles Roberts came in. Dean said Jerry King would be coming in as a Union Representative.
We all sat down at a table. Dean Wasson informed me that I was terminated. It was due to an occurrence "Friday" (October 20, 2000).
Both KOLR-10 and Fox-27 use a character generator to air Lotto numbers shortly after 7 PM. As KOLR-10 MCR operator I control that character generator (Inscriber). We "supered" the numbers at 7 PM simultaneously. These numbers run and they "effect off". I hit the button on my switcher taking the key off the air. Ann Nicholas, the Fox 27 master control operator did not hit the corresponding button on her switcher. There was no immediate effect, and we both forgot about it.
At about 8:03 PM I initialized the Inscriber and it put color bars up briefly. I then used the "frame grab" feature to capture an image of Chris Herzog that was on the Production Control room line. These images were immediately placed on the air on Fox 27, although I was un-aware of it at the time. Chad Tate called me on the phone (865-9795) and told what he was seeing on Fox 27. When I realized what had happened, I immediately blanked the image and restored the video to normal. A few minutes later Ann Nicholas returned and I told her to take the key out.
Steve Trammell, Shannon Balding, Ann Nicholas, Casey Spivey and others watched the logger tape and noted the time and length of this aberration. There were many nervous laughs of embarrassment.
Notes: Following the death of Governor Carnahan our news people needed press credentials and ID cards to attend the funeral. In order to manufacture such credentials, those needing them stood in front of a wall and had their imaged "grabbed" from a TV camera. These were to be taken to graphics computers where the ID's were to be made.
On Thursday evening, Oct 19th, Shannon Balding, a director, first combined the pictures of Lisa Page and Joe Daues to make a comical combination with Joe's nose and mouth and the outline of Lisa's face. We all agreed that "LisaJoe" was an ugly girl.
On Friday Evening Steve Trammell did the same with Chris Herzog's face and Lisa's hair. This is how the "offending image" was manufactured. This image was available from the production control room.
At 7 PM on Friday Oct 20th I used the Inscriber Character Generator to enter the winning lottery numbers and then after Ann Nicholas (Fox27) and I (KOLR-10) put our "key" in (that is, put the inscriber on air), we ran the numbers simultaneously.
Ann Nicholas evidently did not remove her "key" as is standard practice, leaving the Incriber, which was blank still connected to the on air signal. Over an hour later, when I started using the Inscriber, an image of color bars was aired for a few seconds while the inscriber initialized. I was not aware of this and Ann was not at her position. I then loaded the image of Chris Herzog that was available from the production control switcher into the Inscriber. Unbeknownst to me, this was also immediately placed on air on Fox27. Within a minute, I received a phone call from Chad Tate, a graphics artist at the station, who was presumably watching from home. I dropped the phone and blanked the image as quickly as I could.
When Ann Nicholas returned in a few minutes, I told her what had happened and had her remove her "key". Steve Trammell and Shannon Balding as well as a few other workers arrived and asked what had happened. We all reviewed the "logger tape" which shows all on-air events (similar to a surveillance camera at a bank or convenience store).
Steve Trammell, as Director and News/Operations director, was my supervisor that night and I believe he was fully informed of what happened and how it occurred. Since the event occurred on Fox27, Ann Nicholas files a standard discrepancy report. Since nothing occurred on-air at KOLR-10, I did not make an entry on my discrepancy report.
1. I did not create the image, a director did
2. I do not control what goes on air at Fox27, Ann Nicholas, the master control operator does that. She left the "key" in, setting me up for this problem.
3. The company has said that I was "not forthcoming" with information on this occurrence. Steve Trammell, and Shannon Balding, both TV directors and management supervisors investigated and were informed of exactly what happened and how. Ann Nicholas filed her standard discrepancy report of events that occur on Fox27. Since nothing inappropriate aired on KOLR-10, I did not make an entry.
Steve Trammell and Ann Nicholas received a reprimand letter in their personnel files. I was terminated.
On Tuesday, October 24, at about 3:30PM, -- 24 hours before I was fired, Charles Roberts came and stood at the glass partition between the Fox27 and KOLR-10 control rooms and spoke to Ann Nicholas and myself about the events on Friday October 20th. He gave us a mild reprimand and said that we were professionals and should watch out for each other and work together. He said it was a rare co-incidence of events that lead to this on-air mistake. His remarks, while directed at both of us, seemed directed more at Ann. In Ann's defense, I remarked that something like this was "like a lightning strike" and unlikely to ever happen again. Charles cried out "Exactly!" and that was the end of it as far as I knew.
Almost exactly 24 hours later I was being fired by Dean Wasson, in the presence of Charles Roberts and Jerry King.
At a pre-grievance meeting with Dean Wasson, his attorney Jay Dade, IBEW business manager Jackie Bauer and myself on Friday November 10th, Dean Wasson revealed that he was not aware of the events that took place Friday Oct 20th until the following "Tuesday or Wednesday".
Quorum Stations in Utica NY
Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights
FCC EEO Rules
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
AARP on Age Discrimination
Age Discrimination Facts
CNNfn - Age Discrimination in the Workplace
Age Discrimination Library References
Recent Developments in Age Discrimination Law
Broadcasting of Springfield Inc.
VHR Springfield License Inc.
Broadcasting of Missouri Inc.
Quorum Broadcasting of Springfield L.L.C