News anchor Rob Braun says it was "time to move on" after 35 years at WKRC-TV because "I don't fit well with the Sinclair News model."
Cincinnati's longest-tenured main anchor, in his first public comment about his departure, says he wasn't fired and he's not retiring.
Channel 12 "is NOT forcing me out," Braun wrote on his Facebook page late Wednesday. "In fact they offered me a generous contract. I am choosing to leave. There is no 'real story.'
"Sometimes in life, you just know, it's time to move on. I don't feel I fit well with the Sinclair News model."
Braun, son of the late Cincinnati variety host Bob Braun, told Channel 12 news staffers Monday that he was leaving June 28, at the end of his contract.
He was hired in 1984, and took over as main co-anchor in 1988 after Nick Clooney left the station. Sinclair Broadcast Group bought the station in 2012.
Braun clashed with his bosses last year when Sinclair ordered news anchors to read a commentary complaining about media companies pushing "their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think." Two Channel 12 staffers said Braun tried to rewrite Sinclair's script in his own words, but it was rejected.
Sinclair received a nationwide backlash last year after Deadspin mashed together three dozen Sinclair anchors – including Braun and Cammy Dierking – reading the Sinclair script in unison, as if they were mindless corporate robots. Braun told coworkers last year he received death threats after Channel 12 began airing the Sinclair statement. Also, four veteran reporters have left the station since the commentary aired: Deb Dixon, Joe Webb, Jeff Hirsh and Larry Davis.
In a statement Wednesday, WKRC-TV General Manager Jon Lawhead said Braun turned down the company offer to continue at the station. "It was our desire for Rob to stay, but he decided it was time to move on. We want to thank Rob for all of his contributions to our newsroom and our station," he said.
Here is the message on his Robert Braun Local 12 News Facebook page:
I think I need to clear up a few things that are roaming around the Web and social media...
I want you to know that I am not retiring.
Ch(annel) 12 is NOT forcing me out. In fact they offered me a generous contract.
I am choosing to leave.
There is no "real story."
Sometimes in life, you just know, it's time to move on.
I don't feel I fit well with the Sinclair News model.
It has been an unbelievable run. More than any newsman can ask for and that is all due to you. Our viewers! And I thank you.
I promise to do my best to answer everyone but it may take some time... Thank you all for the love and support.
I'll have more to say at 6 on Friday the 28th on the air. I hope you can be there.
So lets stay in touch after the station takes this page down.
You can find me at Robert Braun on Facebook.