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Hear Something a Little Different on the Radio Today?

Did you get fooled today?

Radio stations are often one of the last remaining outlets to celebrate April Fool’s with gusto. Morning show DJs read fake news reports, radio shows are replaced, and some stations switch their formats for 24 hours. Howard Stern once pretended that he’d been fired on April 1st over his crude content.

College radio station KXUA (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville) actually launched their FM broadcast on April 1, 2000 and in honor of their struggles to get on the air they started off with 24 hours of political speeches.

Back in 1998 several San Francisco Bay Area radio stations had April Fool’s-themed programming, including commercial station KITS (aka Live 105), which changed to KGAY for a day, airing gay-themed music. That same year college station KUSF read an announcement over the air stating that the university was selling off the station and commercial rock station KFOG devoted their “10 at 10” segment to big band music. Another year KFOG spent part of their program day playing the best 15 seconds of songs as their new format.

Brown University station WBRU pretended to have been sold to a corporate entity and changed its format from alternative rock to the more mainstream “Buddy FM” in 2006. Audio from that prank can be heard here.

Chicago commercial rock station WXRT also has a tradition of doing April Fool’s hoaxes. One year they pretended that the station had gone “adult,” with their purchase by Playboy. In 1992 they told listeners that they had become a digital “pay-per-hear” station with several specialized streams of music. Non-subscribers would be treated to a jumbled up broadcast of scrambled sounds.

I think it’s fun to hear stations getting creative on April 1st, but often listeners become outraged (even after they’ve caught on to the joke). Are you willing to let your favorite station mess around for a day or do you think April Fool’s is a tradition past its prime?

Did any stations in your community do something special for April Fool’s this year?

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5 Responses to Hear Something a Little Different on the Radio Today?

  1. Jennifer Waits April 1, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    One station playing along today is Stanford University radio station KZSU. This morning they aired 1980s music and “breaking news” stories about hostilities between Canada and the United States, including the potential for territory swapping.

    Their website lists the following programs today:

    + Thursday, April 1st, 12:00am
    Foolsgasm w/ Brick, the Brakhage of Prankage, featuring theeee Daaaaaaveee with the vessssstttt

    + Thursday, April 1st, 9:00am
    Simulcast from London, it’s legendary British DJ Trevor Sand-Hill. Thursday’s show highlights the best in classic music from the “New Wave” genre.

    + Thursday, April 1st, 2:00pm
    2-3pm: Electronica from Romania 3-4pm: Punk rock from the 70s and 80s, broadcast by Hindi/Bengali DJs, originating from New Dehli.

    + Thursday, April 1st, 10:00pm
    10-11pm: Classic Rock broadcast from Thailand 11pm-Midnight: Electronica from Romania

  2. Bob April 1, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Take a look at the first station you mentioned KXUA, I think they are at it again!

  3. Jennifer Waits April 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Hilarious. Yes, KXUA is doing “all acedemic” [sic] radio! Right now I’m listening to a treatise on quantum mechanics.

  4. Jennifer Waits April 1, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    And I just heard that NPR was airing a fake promo for a 20 CD box set of all of their underwriting messages

  5. Jennifer Waits April 1, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    Although this wasn’t an on-air joke, here’s something about college radio station WITR, “WITR Goes AM – No One Notices.” According to the article:

    “WITR (pronounced Twitter, minus the “T”), RIT’s student-run radio station, switched from FM to AM broadcasting last Monday, citing cost concerns. Fortunately for them, no one noticed.”

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