DJs Keith Kramer and Tony Longo — known on the air as Kramer & Twitch — of rock station KEGL-FM Dallas have been fired for falsely reporting that Britney Spears was killed in a car crash that left her boyfriend, ‘N Sync’s Justin Timberlake in a coma. The duo last week caused widespread panic through the teen pop fan community with the hoax.
Tom Schurr, vice president and market manager in Dallas for the station’s owner, Clear Channel Communications, said that wasn’t the only reason the DJs were fired. “There were some other things that I only have a cursory knowledge of that came up while they were out there,” Schurr told The Dallas Morning News. “As you well know, sometimes you do something, but it doesn’t become a problem for some time later.”
The DJ pair began working at KEGL in summer 1998. The Dallas station continued to air their show when they moved to Clear Channel-owned KSJO in San Jose, Calif., in December 2000. While in San Jose, the DJs once suggested that drivers run over bicyclists or hit them with their car doors. They returned to KEGL in May.
Timberlake says that he and Spears were in different cities when the hoax was perpetrated, and it was unnerving news to hear. “I know the first thing I did was call Britney because I was, like, ‘Well maybe it got twisted, maybe something did happen to her,'” Timberlake told the Toronto Sun. “We had both heard about it at the same time, and then she was like, ‘I can’t believe this.’ By the time we actually talked about it, it had been all the way around the world.”
Kramer said he and his partner were surprised that the station fired them because he’d gotten permission from the program director to air the rumor about the 19-year-old pop diva. The idea was to create “a little commotion,” he said.
Kramer said he and Longo initially were going to report that Metallica singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield had been killed, but because KEGL is a rock station, they decided that would strike too close to home for their listeners. He said they decided on Spears because they doubted any of her fans would listen to KEGL.
“The last thing we expected was us, self-proclaimed morons, to create such a worldwide panic within one hour,” Kramer said. “That’s not what we set out to do.”
For his part, Timberlake says he’s not angry with the DJs. “I feel sorry that they got fired,” he told the Sun. “I don’t know why anyone would make up something like that. That’s between them and their radio station. I’m not upset about it. I’m not pissed off towards anybody. I don’t have any animosity towards these deejays for doing it.”
“It just sucks that my family was so worried about it,” he added. “And Britney’s family too, ’cause they’re part of my family. I feel like I’ve grown up with them too.”
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