I love playing practical jokes, especially on unsuspecting co-workers. It’s one of the joys of my life! Naturally, I used to use April Fools Day as an excuse to execute these pranks.
That is, until one fateful day in 2010 as I was working as the Assistant News Director at WLDS-AM in Jacksonville, Illinois. I thought it would be funny April Fools Day news story to write that a new piece of technology has been installed in car radios over the last few years that allow radio stations to track which stations are being listened to, and we will now be charging a small fee for listening to our station. I thought the joke would be obvious, but just in case, I attached to the fake news story a photo of the sign outside the radio station that depicted the call letters, with a vertical line through the “S” in WLDS.
So it was more like “WLD$” – you see what I did there?
Obviously a joke, right?
Not to one particular advertiser who was so appalled at the idea that he called up station management and immediately cancelled his advertising. Even after the joke was explained, he still was pretty fired up, and he didn’t continue his advertising until a week later.
Until then, I’ve made it a point to not play practical jokes on the air/online through whatever radio station I’m working at.
Oh, good times.