Channel 7 reporter Michael Usher has weighed in on his colleagues Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor's infamous Novak Djokovic comments by revealing his own on-air blunder.
During a candid chat with Nova's Fitzy & Wippa on Thursday morning, the 7News Sydney anchor admitted that it was 'entirely possible' for such slip-ups to occur in a live TV environment.
On-air slip-ups 'entirely possible'
Michael told Fitzy and Wippa that the leaked footage of Rebecca and Mike calling Djokovic an “a***hole” on 7News Melbourne, which has since gone viral, was a bit of a wake-up call for those in the media industry.
"After that happened we like to think, 'Oh, it would never happen to me' but it could well happen. Look at what we're doing now [on radio], with all the technology it's entirely possible," he said.
The veteran TV star went on to reveal that he got caught out last year while making what he thought was off-air small talk with a fellow reporter on The Latest, Channel 7's late-night news bulletin.
"It was about 11 o'clock at night and I'm happily chatting away and before we go to air you do these checks with the reporters and there was a reporter named Estelle in Melbourne," he explained.
"It was one of those nights when we were a bit busy and I did the quite functionary, 'Estelle how's your day? What did you have for breakfast? You good? Can you hear me? Fine, off we go'. And in my ear, the studio screamed, 'We are live, oh my God, we're live, we're live, keep reading we’re live!'" he added.
Despite the international fanfare, Michael played down Rebecca and Mike's comments about the Serbian tennis star's Australian Open saga.
"Yeah, but look, our team down there was speaking very frankly and candidly and probably saying what most people are thinking."
He joked that the incident could inspire a new promo campaign to distinguish his bulletin, 7News Sydney from Rebecca and Mike's in Melbourne.
"At 7News Sydney we swear less," he laughed.
7News leak found
After a three-day investigation, the source of the leak was identified as an employee at the closed-captions company that works with Channel Seven, Ai-Media Technologies Limited.
The network was reportedly led to Ai-Media after noticing a timestamp in the video that wasn’t available on their own feed.
"As a result of the investigation, Ai-Media has identified that an employee working remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak was responsible for the unauthorised distribution of the content," the company confirmed in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.
"Appropriate action has been taken with regard to the employee responsible."
That wasn't before US TV host Jimmy Kimmel mocked the incident on his talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
After playing a snippet of the off-air discussion, which was met with enormous laughter from the studio audience, he jokingly added: “Why isn’t all the news like that? I would watch the news every night."
The leak has also reportedly left Sunrise hosts Natalie Barr and David ‘Kochie’ Koch concerned that a 'rat' could also potentially leak their off-air conversations.
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