- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2015

Two Missouri morning radio personalities have been suspended after suggesting that the on-air slayings last month of two Virginia journalists was part of an elaborate conspiracy “intended to influence gun laws.”

Host Joe Rios and his telephone screener, Rick Masters, made the comments during a Sunday morning call-in show, “Cracker Barrel,” just four days after WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were fatally shot during a live interview, the New York Daily News reported.

Stations manager Rex Hansen said one of his employees said Aug. 30 that he believed the shooting was a hoax “to the degree that there might have been some thinking that it was intended to influence gun laws, so they fabricated the event,” the Springfield News-Leader reported.

Mr. Hansen issued on on-air apology last week for his employees’ comments, saying, “Last Sunday on ‘Cracker Barrel,’ two of our employees not only displayed poor judgment when talking about the recent murder of two of our colleagues from television station WDBJ in Virginia but went in a direction that was not factual, disrespectful and downright wrong. We apologize for their comments. They do not reflect the values we hold high here at the E.W. Scripps Company. Thank you.”

Cracker Barrel” airs on E.W. Scripps Co. stations KTTS-FM, KSGF-FM and KSGF-AM.

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