SYRACUSE — It was March 1, 2001 — exactly ten years ago today — that CNYRadio.com was born. Today, we begin a series of articles to mark the occasion. To get things started, we thought it would be fun to follow-up on the site’s very first story from a decade ago: internet rumors that 93Q’s Rick Roberts was dating Britney Spears. Obviously the rumors weren’t true — but to this day, parts of the story remain a mystery to Roberts and his co-workers.
Is Britney Dating Rick Roberts?
Rumors have been swirling on the Internet that Britney Spears has been dating ‘a Syracuse DJ’. The mystery man is 93Q’s night jock Rick Roberts who, though an unabashed Britney fan, denies that he and the teen pop star are an item. www.101britney.com reports on an incident that may have spawned the speculation.
Roberts, who now holds down the noon to 5pm shift on 93Q (WNTQ), was doing the night shift ten years ago. He started in September 1999 and stayed on nights until June 2006, when he moved to afternoons and was promoted to Music Director and Assistant Program Director.
When we asked Roberts about the 2001 story, his first reaction was, “Wow! That was 10 years ago??!! I feel old.” He continued, “I do remember this! All Access picked it up too and I was interviewed on a syndicated night show about it (it aired in different countries and everything).”
He goes on to say, “It brings back a lot of memories – memories of when Britney was at her prime and she was smokin’ (kidding – maybe). I loved doing nights and it was great show topic for plenty of nights. Ted and Amy had some fun with it on the air too.”
Ted Long from the 93Q morning show concurs. “I remember, it started on someone’s Britney blog, although how Rick’s name became involved is a mystery. I know he was a big Britney fan…maybe someone just assumed they knew each other.” Long jokingly adds, ” I was linked to Debbie Gibson back in the 80’s (just kidding!)”
Morning show co-host Amy Robbins tells CNYRadio.com, “I clearly remember the story about Rick Roberts and Britney Spears because he was always very vague about the whole thing. I seriously never really knew if it was a rumor or not. I know that he was one of the first in the area on the Britney Spears bandwagon around here, so it was not hard to believe that he drew her attention. Now that he’s happily married with child, the truth may never surface, but it was certainly very exciting!!”
So how did it all get started? Was it someone “on the inside” pulling a prank, or was there enough information out there for an “outsider” to start posting things online?
We now have, as the late, great Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story,” as told by Rick himself:
I am not really sure how it got started. 101britney.com (which doesn’t exist anymore) said they received an email from someone at an overseas newspaper. The only thing I can think of is a story ran on the front page of The Post Standard back in June of 2000, which talked about me being the full time night guy while still being a senior in high school. It mentioned my Britney “infatuation” in the article and how I planned to interview/meet her again in the future. Maybe something got picked up with that story? We all know how tabloids are. Of course it was almost a year later when the rumors surfaced.
One other thing – I made a trip to New Orleans after graduation with my dad, and it was right around the time Britney was going home to do a show there. They talked about that too in another online site. Something about how I was “meeting up with her” or something. Very peculiar. Of course, none of it was true – but I did meet her when she performed at the fair in Syracuse a few times.
My initial reaction was “Huh? Me?? What??” Then I wondered what Britney would think if she heard about it and if her camp was going to come after me or something. They just ignored it. It would have been cool to get a “Britney Spears is not dating Rick Roberts” comment but it didn’t happen. Big surprise huh?
So there you have it — ten years later, Roberts has some theories behind the rumors, but still no definite answer as to how the buzz got started. Our very special thanks to Rick Roberts — and to his co-workers Ted Long and Amy Robbins — for taking the time to share their memories of that very first story from CNYRadio.com, ten years ago today.
CNYRadio.com Turns Ten
We’ve got more articles — it’s CNYRadio.com’s 10th birthday, so check back at 10:10am every day for the rest of the week!
- Tomorrow – Local radio personalities and managers choose local radio’s biggest story over the past decade.
- Thursday – Where local radio experts see radio headed in the next ten years.
- Friday – CNYRadio.com Founder Scott Jameson’s reflections on the original CNYRadio.com (2001-2005), current editor Peter Naughton’s thoughts on the CNYRadio.com you’ve been reading 2008 to Present, and your thoughts/reflections on the site.