Radio Hosts Punished for Calling On-Air Killings a Hoax
Station manager apologizes, suspends pair
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2015 12:13 PM CDT
This undated composite photograph made available by WDBJ-TV shows reporter Alison Parker, left, and cameraman Adam Ward.   (Courtesy of WDBJ-TV via AP)
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(Newser) – A Missouri radio station manager has cleared the air—somewhat literally—offering an apology to listeners and suspending two morning show employees who made inappropriate comments about the on-air shooting of three people in Virginia. Four days after WDBJ7's Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed by a former co-worker, either Joe Rios—the host of call-in show "Cracker Barrel" on KTTS-FM, KSGF-FM, and KSGF-AM—or phone screener Rick Masters suggested the tragedy was a "hoax" designed to stir up support for stronger gun laws, reports the Springfield News-Leader.

"Well, unfortunately two people died," says station manager Rex Hansen, making the Aug. 30 comments—which have also been expressed on various websites and forums—"not factual, disrespectful, and downright wrong." Hansen wouldn't say how long the men have been suspended, but the News-Leader reports Rios wasn't at work when a reporter tried to contact him on Tuesday; he has been silent on Twitter since the offending episode of the morning show aired. (The third victim and sole survivor of the shooting just left a hospital this week.)