A radio station's prank last week regarding a supposed alien invasion panicked local citizens, had local schools on lock down and used up important resources for the financially-strapped police department!
Obviously inspired by Orson Welles' infamous 1938 radio broadcast of H.G. Wells classic War of the Worlds on Halloween Eve that panicked America, Alabama radio station Star 94.9 thought it would be fun to play a mock-up of an alien invasion to announce to the public of the station's impending format change. The situation got a little out of control, however, when listeners thought that the station had indeed been hacked by aliens— or perhaps terrorists— plotting the destruction of the country!
Worried parents immediately started calling emergency services after the phony announcement, fearing a bomb threat at local schools, while many other parents kept their children home from school out of fear of an attack. Police officers had to be dispatched to several schools to keep the peace and to assure students and faculty alike that there was no [immediate] threat of spindly, four-eyed, green aliens taking over and turning everyone into a source of food, because—as everyone knows— humans are extremely tasty to extra-terrestrials.
"It may have started as something innocent," said Tuscumbia, Alabama, Police Chief Tony Logan, "but it has gotten out of hand and turned into an issue concerning public safety." Logan also stated that some officers had to be paid overtime due to the prank, which has put a strain on the departments' already-strapped budget.
Director of programming Brian Rickman has apologized for the unfortunate incident, stating "It's a very innocuous promotion that got blown out of proportion."