St. Louis Station Apologizes for Calling Black Homeowners ‘Colored’

By Kevin Eck 

St. Louis CBS station KMOV has issued an apology after anchor Cory Stark used an outdated and offensive term to describe minority homeowners.

Stark referred to the homeowners as ‘colored’ during a segment on racial bias in home appraisals.

Vice president and general manager JD Sosnoff said that the term was mistakenly used instead of ‘homeowners of color’.


“It was in an original script as ‘homeowners of color’ and was inadvertently changed and mistakenly read on air,” Sosnoff told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We regret the error and apologized to our viewers on air at 10 p.m. on Monday night and at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday night.”

“The word should have never come out of my mouth, and it does not reflect who I am or what First Alert 4 represents,” said Stark.

From the Post-Dispatch:

The use of the term ‘colored’—a relic of the Jim-Crow era—has not only offended many but also resurfaced painful memories associated with racial segregation and discrimination in the United States. St. Louis County NAACP President John Bowman, while acknowledging the apology from KMOV, emphasized the importance of media outlets being more mindful of their language and the impact it can have on communities, especially in a city like St. Louis, with a significant Black population and a history of racial tensions. The incident has sparked a broader conversation on the need for ongoing education and awareness regarding racial terminology and sensitivity.

The National Association of Black Journalists issued a statement:

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is appalled and disappointed by a recent incident at KMOV, Gray Television’s affiliate in St. Louis. While teasing a story about Black homeowners and appraisals, an anchor referred to the homeowners as “colored.”

It is upsetting that such a slur would make it to air. The term is outdated, offensive and racist. We are concerned that no one in the KMOV newsroom caught this error, and we question KMOV’s editorial process when it comes to cultural awareness.

Given that St. Louis’ population is 43% Black, and the city is no stranger to racial strife, we would hope KMOV would be more sensitive in how it covers the Black community.

While we understand that there have been multiple on-air apologies and KMOV management has met with local leaders, that is not enough. KMOV and Gray TV should retrain their employees on diversity, equity and inclusion issues while investing in recruiting and retaining Black employees on and off-air.

Management at KMOV has reached out to NABJ to learn how to educate the newsroom on issues within the Black community.

“We look forward to these discussions with KMOV’s management,” said NABJ President Ken Lemon and Vice President-Broadcast Walter Smith Randolph. “However, this further shows the fight for equal treatment and fair coverage is not over. We hope these discussions will be fruitful and yield documentable results.”

NABJ will continue to monitor this station and the efforts of Gray TV to enhance its processes and protocols to eliminate this and similar issues.