If you were anywhere near the East Coast this past weekend, you know that local news broadcasted Hurricane Irene coverage non-stop from Friday night through Sunday evening. Because of that, many stations were scratching to pull together guests and fill air time. After all, you can only show a weather map so many times.
One such station was WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC. WRAL has produced a number of quality stories that we've featured on this site, but there was one point during its hurricane coverage on Saturday that made many do a double take. What do I mean? Well, the station was pranked on live TV when they thought they were interviewing a hurricane expert who turned out to be a Howard Stern fan.
The station thought it was talking to Ernie Seneca from the states emergency management office (who does really exist). And for the most part, "Seneca" acted like it, giving people tips on how to stay safe during the storm. But then he made a comment that left the newscasters dumbfounded: "This storm was caused by a draft of wind from Howard Stern's a***ole."
Say what? The newscast went silent for what seems like an eternity before the anchors came back and pretended like nothing happened:
The Miami Herald has reaction fromt he station and the real Ernie Seneca:
Nimble WRAL engineers hit the mute button, and the anchors immediately went on to another topic.
Tom Cipriano, better known as "Captain Janks" from the Howard Stern radio show, claims credit for the call. Video of it is making the rounds online.
The real Ernie Seneca said he began getting calls shortly after the interview, including from a co-worker who said the caller did not sound like him. Seneca said he has a good sense of humor and took it stride.
"There are a lot more important things in life than some jokester," he said.
WRAL was not amused. Jim Rothschild, director of station operations, said, "It's unfortunate that at a time when we are trying to get emergency information out to viewers who need that information, that someone would attempt to take the situation lightly."
(H/T: TV Spy)