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March 30, 2022 4:56 pm  #1

April Fools

This Friday is April Fool's Day and I thought we should revisit some of the most interesting radio April Fool's Jokes.
My favourite is by the legendary Gerry Forbes, recently retired from CJAY in Calgary (and a Don Mills Collegiate alumni).  While doing mid-days at CHUM he pulled a great joke. This was back in the days of home and office telephones.  (no cell phones, Rogers or Telus).  Bell issued all numbers and could change them at a moments notice. Toronto residents know the iconic phone number for Pizza Pizza (967-1111).  Gerry phoned the corporate offices of the pizza company claiming to be from the phone company informing them that they were going to change their phone  number.  This possibly caused corporate panic until Gerry explained that it was April Fools Day.  Does anyone (Dale Patterson?) have a recording of that prank?  Any other April Fool's Day jokes anyone else would like to share?


March 30, 2022 5:12 pm  #2

Re: April Fools

I've written about this before, and I think they were copying a station in Australia, but on April 1, 1977, CFTR Toronto managed to convince a lot of people that the government was instituting "Metric Time." (This was just a few years after Canada's ongoing conversion to the metric system, so it was easily believable.) Through an endlessly complicated explanation, they tried to outline how it would be phased in over two years, going from a 24-hour to a 10-hour day. 

Under that scenario, they outlined, 7:30 AM DT would be 3:12 MT. 

"Experts" came on to outline the reasons for the move, there were MOS -es (Man On the Street) interviews and, of course, endless news bulletins. It was very well done and the station was predictably inundated with outraged listeners. So they set up a special phone line to try and put out the basics of the "Time" change.

And of course, at the very end of the recording they spilled the beans that they'd been had. You can hear the entire thing - including the infamous phone recording - on Dale Patterson's Rock Radio Scrapbook - here

A few years later, around 1980, TR tried another less successful scheme, saying a band of Indigenous people had taken over Toronto Island, claiming it was their land and they wanted it back. Out came the endless interviews and the live hits direct from the Island. But this one was not the success of the previous idea and it didn't get very far. 

I can only imagine the outrage if anyone dared try that in these more sensitive times. 


March 30, 2022 5:16 pm  #3

Re: April Fools

Then there's this article, from 2019.

The 10 Best Radio Hoaxes You’ve Never Heard Before

Even the staid old BBC got in on the act with this infamous hoax.



March 30, 2022 6:34 pm  #4

Re: April Fools

Don't forget 1050 CHUM's Mike Cooper's classic April Fools joke of getting shot on the air after a build up of threatening phone calls.  That bit will be the next audio on the CHUM DJ Hall of Fame at starting next Monday.


March 30, 2022 8:11 pm  #5

Re: April Fools

Sault ste marie in the 60s.... morning show guy thought it would be funny to send up "war of the worlds" by saying there were incoming unidentified aircraft spotted by NORAD over hudson bay and flying south.  he ran with it for over an hour between music. HUGE panic because, well, cold war and all.

keep in mind, the soo has the shipping locks and a steel plant, and a NORAD base in upper MI.  within the hour, US military brass was at the station demanding an explanation.  The announcer wasn't fired, he just.... stopped coming into work after that.



April 1, 2022 11:43 am  #6

Re: April Fools

Here's one I'd never heard of before. It came at the beginning of the pay-per-view era, when the Phoenix Suns put some of their games on cable and charged fans to watch them.

That gave a prankster, whose station carried the games on radio, an idea for an April Fool's gag - pay-per-listen.

"The story said KTAR had acquired technology to allow them to do pay-per-listen, and Suns fans needed to call a special phone number to sign up and give their payment information.

There was also a promotional announcement urging listeners to sign up, offering a clip of Al McCoy calling a game-winning play, only to have the call go to static. The gag even included info about collection boxes set up around the Valley where people could make convenient payments."

Suns fans were heated about KTAR’s pay-per-listen plan on April Fools’ 1994


April 1, 2022 2:55 pm  #7

Re: April Fools

Another April Fools joke that CFTR played in the mid seventies was again from Robert Holiday.  In his morning newscasts he did a story about Bell Telephone having to blow out their phone lines.  One of our staff members playing a representative from Bell was interviewed by Glenys Bell.  He described how dust had accumulated in the lines over the years and to insure static free communication, the dust had to be blown out.  He suggested putting your phone in a plastic bag so the dust wouldn't dirty your home.  Quite a few people fell for it because later in the afternoon a couple of dozen calls were received asking if they could remove the phone from the bag.

BTW here is a link to an air check of the metric time joke that RA mentioned.


Last edited by Citypulse News 15 (April 2, 2022 3:30 pm)


April 1, 2022 3:26 pm  #8

Re: April Fools

Did any radio station...anywhere change their format this year? Just for the fun of April Fool's day? 

RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.


April 1, 2022 10:28 pm  #9

Re: April Fools

   This doesn't quite count as an April Fool's joke, but it rates a mention.  Dick Van Dyke hosted a short-lived NBC variety show in 1976 called Van Dyke and Company.  It was mainly notable as a breakout gig for Andy Kaufman, who would interrupt Dick regularly with his jokes, Elvis impersonations and lip-syncing to musical records.  But one episode (in November 1976, so not quite an April Fool gag) included a mock sportscast (perhaps read by longtime LA sportscaster Stu Nahan) with an item that the Los Angeles Rams had traded their entire starting backfield (QB, 2 RB's and FB) to Notre Dame for hunchback Quasimodo.  That provoked a barrage of angry calls to NBC (and likely the Rams) from people who (obviously) did not get the joke and wondered how the Rams could be so stupid.  Perhaps other historians here can dig out more details of this episode.  

Last edited by dieter (April 1, 2022 10:59 pm)


April 2, 2022 1:24 pm  #10

Re: April Fools

Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon swapped shows yesterday.


April 2, 2022 1:24 pm  #11

Re: April Fools