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Rival Stations Cover KARK Meteorologist’s Role in Bathtub Death of 24-Year-Old

On Tuesday evening, every news station in Little Rock covered the untimely death of a 24-year-old man who was found dead in a bathtub alongside KARK meteorologist Brett Cummins.

While KARK, an NBC-affiliate, disclosed on-air that its longtime weathercaster was connected to the death, rival stations provided more in-depth coverage of the incident, even though not all of them mentioned Cummins by name.

ABC-affiliate KATV led its 6 p.m. newscast with the story, starting with the line “A man is found dead in a bath tub and a local television personality is a witness.”  The station’s coverage–which also ran during the 10 p.m. newscast–featured an interview with a police lieutenant and reporting from Stephanie Simoni, who said that Cummins was found in the bathtub with the dead body.

In covering the story, KATV contacted KARK and news director Rob Heverling stated that Cummins remains employed with the station.

CBS-affiliate KTHV covered the death and the ongoing police investigation at the beginning of its 6 o’clock newscast, mentioning that one of the two witnesses was “KARK chief meteorologist Brett Cummins.”

Like KATV, KTHV interviewed Lt. Jim Hansard and reported that Cummins was found in the bathtub alongside the body.  KTHV also relayed the other witness’s claim that Cummins had been snorting illegal narcotics with the man hours before he died.

At the end of its coverage, KTHV read a statement that KARK had posted to its website about the matter.  The statement is the same as what KARK anchor Bob Clausen read during the station’s 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts on Tuesday.

While Fox-affiliate KLRT covered the incident during its 5, 9, and 10 p.m. newscasts, the station did not mention Cummins’s name or his job with KARK.

“Since Maumelle police do not know if foul play is involved and because no one has been charged with a crime,” KLRT anchor Kevin Kelly said during the 10 p.m. newscast, “Fox 16 news is not reporting the names of the two witnesses at this time.”

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