A hot-mike situation led to a reporter uttering an expletive on the air.
KAKE News, an ABC affiliate in Wichita, had a reporter in the field covering stormy weather Thursday when he reportedly said the F-word.
“The mike was hot, and he didn’t realize they had pitched it to him,” said KAKE general manager Neal Davis.
The reporter is in his first year with the station but has worked as a reporter for other outlets, Davis said. He did not share the reporter’s name.
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One person claiming to have recorded the incident posted video to Twitter just after 4 p.m. (Warning, the link directs to a video with profane language.)
The station issued an apology.
“We consider such an act very inappropriate and again deeply sorry that the incident happened,” said news director Anthony Maisel. “We value our viewers ... in the heat of the moment it just happened.”
Davis added that “it was one word, and it was under duress when he was busy with the storm.”
He said he preferred not to repeat the expletive uttered, but some in KAKE’s comment section spoke of the incident.
Before the station removed the Facebook post linking to the station’s apology, many commenters extended their support for the reporter on social media.
Many also offered support in the story’s comment section.
Others, though, were more critical of the reporter’s slip-up.
The reporter was called back to the station, and “action will be taken,” according to KAKE’s apology.
Davis did not say if or how the reporter would be disciplined. “That’s not a public decision or public discussion,” he said.
The Federal Communications Commission enforces the prohibition of profane and indecent language in response to complaints. Depending on context, the F-word can be considered highly offensive profane language if aired between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
“We have a process that we have to go through at the station, between ... address(ing) the issue and dealing with the FCC.”