Group demands cancellation of radio show after hoax

Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson, of Long Island's

Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson, of Long Island's WKJY/98.3 FM, shown here in a news report on Feb. 17, 2014, created an on-air hoax involving a fictitious homophobic parent. The general manager of the radio station suspended them over the weekend. Photo Credit: News 12 Long Island

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The Bethpage-based Fair Media Council, an organization advocating for quality local news coverage, has filed a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission demanding cancellation of a radio morning show following a high-profile hoax last week.

The group told the FCC that Steve Harper and Leanna Karlson of Farmingdale's WKJY / 98.3 "illustrated a severe lapse of judgment in creating the hoax" involving a made-up homophobic parent. "Sound judgment again eluded them with their explanation that they created the hoax in an attempt to open a dialogue on a particular issue." It said allowing the show to continue "would be a complete disservice to the Long Island community . . . "

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WKJY suspended the duo for a week upon discovering and confirming the hoax, and both the station and the hosts issued apologies. They are scheduled to return Monday.

Alissa Marti, spokeswoman for station owner Connoisseur Media Long Island, told Newsday in a statement that as soon as "management became aware of the situation, it investigated and took immediate and substantial action, which included the suspension of the morning show. We acted immediately in a forthright, transparent and ethical manner."

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