Over the years I've had quite a bit of fun pulling pranks on the audience, and coworkers as well. Admittedly, after all of these years, the amount of new ideas, and the creative spark needed to come up with new ways to trick everyone, have gone a bit dry. Thus, it's turned into somewhat of a dry bit.
I even tried to use my laziness to my advantage one year by making the fact that I didn't do an April Fool's gag the gag itself. Always thinkin'.
Here are a few of my favorite pranks from over the years in no particular order:
This was the first gag we pulled, and probably my favorite. Dean Tambling and I hatched the idea a few days before April 1st, took it to our owners Diane and Jeanine, and they loved it. The key was coming up with a scenario that was believable enough so that listeners would buy into it.
We came up with the notion that Dean had received an opportunity to work in Bloomington, which made sense because he had contacts down there and actually worked in that area previously. April Fool's Day was on a Saturday morning, which also was important -- Saturday mornings were the only mornings I was on the air back then (1995).
We talked about Dean leaving and that it was Dean's last day throughout the morning. Many people called in and wished Dean the best.
We let everyone in on it at the end of the show. We even got a nice feature about the gag in the Joliet newspaper.
Mayor Feeney Resigns
This also ranks high simply because of who it involved. Mayor Bob Feeney was a good sport with this prank, and even joked on the air after everything was revealed to be a hoax by saying that he had probably made a few people happy by telling them he was leaving office.
What sold this one was the fact that Dean and I had arranged for there to be a "press conference" where the mayor would make his announcement. We set up our remote broadcast equipment within my studio. The mayor came in to the studio at 8:00am to deliver his "I resign" speech. Listeners had no way to tell that everything was being done right in the 'JDK studio.
The Morris paper, and several other media folks went down to City Hall to cover the press conference. Of course, there was nothing going on there.
After the "announcement", we revealed it to be a hoax fairly quickly. The mayor followed the plan perfectly, and it was at this point that listeners most likely assumed that something would be coming each year on April 1st.
Wind Beneath My Wings
This one was torture for me, hopefully it was for the listeners as well. Another Saturday morning show where the only song I played for three hours was Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler. I kept referencing other songs and artists, but only played Wind.
I took roughly 30 calls from listeners telling me that I was playing the same song over and over, then I would point them to their nearest calendar, prompting them to either laugh, hang up, or ask me "yeah, it's Saturday, so what?"
One year I promoted a joke telling contest. Callers were to call 941-QUIP and leave a joke on the machine, with the funniest joke winning tickets to a comedy club. The joke was on them, however, as there is no "Q" on a phone, thus, they couldn't dial.
This one was a prank on a couple of my colleagues. With the help of a member of our sales staff sales staff (the always funny Brad Bentlin), I had him call a couple of our on-air guys (Doug Thompson and Don Neushwander) under the guise of being a survey taker.
Thompson caught on pretty quick, but Neush didn't catch on until after answering such classic questions as "When using the bathroom, do you often read a magazine", and "How much toilet paper do you use during a visit". Again, classic.
There were other gags, too, but it's Sunday night, this post is being created too late as it is, and frankly, my memory is starting to get a little sluggish.
Hopefully you had a good April Fool's Day and didn't get caught in anything too embarrassing.
If you did, hopefully someone caught it on tape.