A pair of popular morning show hosts from a Southwest Florida radio station have been suspended indefinitely following an April Fools' Day joke that the station's General Manager believes crossed a line.
Val St. John and Scott Fish, a radio "institution" with 26 years at Gator Country 101.9 between them, told listeners yesterday morning that Lee County's water supply had been tainted with dihydrogen monoxide.
The joke being that dihydrogen monoxide is merely another name for water.
The duo's annual April Fools' Day gags are well known in the region, and the so-called "dihydrogen monoxide hoax" is as old as humor, but GM Tony Renda felt it went too far.
"They made a bad call. It was a bad call," Renda said.
Lee County Utilities, which was forced to field calls from concerned citizens for most of yesterday morning, agrees with Renda.
"When it comes to the drinking water supply, it is critical people understand there is not something wrong," said a spokeswoman for the company. "If we did want the news out there, that's not how we would do it."
Some listeners disagreed with the decision to take the longtime DJs off the air.
"Are you kidding me they did not deserve what happened to them...We have lost it in America," said country music fan who said she will now be patronizing Gator Country's rival The River instead.
But suspension may be the least of Fish and St. John's worries before long.
"My understanding is it is a felony to call in a false water quality issue," a Florida Department of Health officer told the News-Press.
UPDATE: Renda released a statement today saying the suspension of Val and Scott has been lifted after ensuring that the Lee County Utility and Lee County Health Department "were both satisfied" with the station's efforts to set things straight.
On Facebook, the DJ duo said the last few days have been "rough," but claimed that the support from fans "has been overwhelming."