SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) _ A university radio station apologized to shaken listeners for its ''War of the Worlds'' style report of a major earthquake in Southern California.

''I didn't intend to do this harm to anyone. I'm sorry. The station is sorry,'' said student Roger Takacs, who created the fictional program that was broadcast Thursday night on KZSC at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

The broadcast said a major quake had just occurred in Los Angeles, killing thousands of people and causing huge fires, floods and mudslides. It was intended to increase earthquake awareness, Takacs said.

A disclaimer was read twice, but many listeners thought the broadcast featuring bulletin updates and comments from a seismologist was real.

''The phones began ringing nonstop - all the lines at the station that could possibly ring,'' Takacs said. ''A lot of people were calling me an idiot, saying it was inappropriate to create so much panic.''

Twenty minutes later, station manager Maggie O'Grady, who didn't know what had been planned, ordered the show off the air, replacing it with apologies.

''The situation is that this young programmer who is overly eager decided to do a simulation with a faculty member,'' O'Grady said. ''It was a very bad mistake and judgment on his part, and we will do everything we can to rectify this with our audience and any member of the community who has been unduly alarmed.''

Takacs earlier contacted the Federal Communications Commission to make sure the broadcast would be legal. He also warned local fire stations but neglected to tell station management.

The program resembled Orson Welles' famed 1938 broadcast based on ''The War of the Worlds,'' H.G. Wells' novel about a Martian invasion. Thousands of people were panicked by that realistic program.

Takacs' broadcast also was realistic, beginning with a bulletin: ''This is a special report. Los Angeles has just been hit by a major earthquake estimated at magnitude 8.5 to 9.0. Initial reports indicate it is centered on the San Andreas fault. ... Damage reports are high.''