A Dallas radio station has fired two disc jockeys who sparked a panic among Britney Spears fans with a phony report that the teen pop star was killed in a car crash with boyfriend Justin Timberlake, the radio station said Tuesday.
Police and fire officials in Los Angeles were deluged with phone calls after two San Jose-based deejays, known as Kramer and Twitch, claimed a source told them Spears was dead and Timberlake, a member of the teen heartthrob band ‘N Sync, was in a coma after a crash in Los Angles.
They aired their fake report during a nighttime show on Dallas hard-rock station KEGL-FM last Tuesday. KEGL is owned by San Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel Communications.
Spears’ publicist quashed the rumor the next day with a statement that the 19-year-old and Timberlake, 20, were in “great health.”
“They were let go on Monday,” Gabrina Soliz, a spokeswoman for Clear Channel Communications, said about Kramer and Twitch.
Soliz said the Britney scare was not the only reason for the firing, but declined to elaborate. Executives at the radio station were not immediately available to comment.
Clear Channel vice president and Dallas market manager Tom Schurr told the Dallas Morning News newspaper that the decision was based on several controversies sparked by the deejays during a recent five-month stint at Clear Channel-owned KSJO in San Jose, California.
The newspaper said while at KSJO, Kramer and Twitch once suggested that motorists run over bicyclists or hit them with their car doors.
“There were some other things that I only have a cursory knowledge of that came up while they were out there (at KSJO),” Schurr told the Morning News.
Kramer and Twitch, whose real names are Keith Kramer and Tony Longo, could not immediately be contacted. The Morning News said their show had aired on KEGL since 1998 and was broadcast by both KEGL and KSJO from last December to May, then played only on KEGL.
Kramer told the Morning News that he and his partner were surprised by the decision.
“We got permission to air the bit,” he said, referring to last week’s hoax.
Kramer said when he and his partner decided to use Spears as the subject of the hoax they doubted that any of her fans would listen to a rock station like KEGL.
The Louisiana-born Spears is one of the top-selling pop artists in the world. Her album “Oops! I Did It Again” was one of the best-selling releases of 2000.