THE jobs of Essex FM presenters Martin Day and Su Harrison are not under threat, station owner Global Radio says.

The assurance follows the row over the breakfast presenters’ apparent suspension for making lewd comments, which Essex FM now admits was a hoax. The presenters were actually on holiday.

A source at Essex FM pointed out the controversy came at a time when the station’s content was under review, with some local programming being replaced by national shows.

The source said: “I do question the timing and nature of the stunt.

“I think Martin and Su may have been threatened with redundancy and pulled this stunt as a way of showing how annoyed they are or to get publicity for themselves.”

However, a spokeswoman for Global Radio said the presenters’ jobs were not under threat. Global has, however, apologised for misleading listeners and launched an inquiry into the stunt.

Radio watchdog Ofcom has said it will consider any complaints it receives about the affair, but stressed the main function of the communications regulator was to deal with broadcast content.

Ed Taylor from Ofcom said: “All UK broadcasters must adhere to Ofcom’s broadcasting code. Any complaints Ofcom receives will be assessed against the broadcasting code.”

The station has been the target of a withering backlash by fans on the website following the revelation the DJs had not been suspended over jokes about Scouts and sex education.

Soozie, from Southend, commented: “I’m changing my morning station now – how sad are they to have to pull a stunt like this?”

Lil1 said: “They should be sacked, I can’t believe this. I will never trust them again. I have always liked them, but now I just treat Essex FM with suspicion.”

Another comment, posted by Cor Blimey, said: “Oh dear, Essex FM has gone too far this time. I’m another that has now switched stations. This is one prank that has certainly back- fired, Shame on you. Has there even been an apology to the listeners?”

But Carolina said: “I think it was quite a funny stunt. It’s no worse than an April Fool joke, only in October instead. I can’t understand why everyone is getting so irate and taking it so personally. Maybe it’s because you all fell for the joke. It hasn’t done anyone any harm. There are a lot worse things to worry about in life.”