April Fools’ Day is one of the days of the year when lots of radio stations hopefully make an extra effort to have some fun and draw attention to their creativity. This year the big day fell on a Monday, which meant that morning shows were working and for most stations it was a normal business day.
First some history thanks to Metro from the UK.
What is April Fools’ Day? It’s this informal holiday when people play jokes on each other.
Whose bright idea was this, then? No one really knows. Until about the 18th century, our ancestors treated the beginning of spring as a fun-filled new year’s celebration, so one school of thought cites this as an origin of all the tomfoolery. But similar festivals – including the Roman celebration of Hilaria, on March 25 – date back thousands of years.
One of the earliest literary references to April Fools’ Day saw Chaucer write about how a vain cock got tricked by a fox on April 1. Senses of humour were different back then.
Where is it celebrated? In more countries than you might think. Prank-playing occurs on or around April 1 in Poland, Iran and several Scandinavian countries. In France and French-speaking Canada people attach paper fish to each other’s backs, while in the Philippines, pranksters mark their victims with yellow dye. As you do.
Tell me some famous April Fools’ jokes. The BBC has good form on this one. In 1957, thousands of viewers believed a report about scientists discovering spaghetti trees in Switzerland, while in 1976, Sir Patrick Moore told Radio 2 listeners that if they jumped in the air at 9.47am on April 1 they would experience a floating sensation.
Here is a summary of some of the pranks I noticed on April 1st.
Two Florida DJ’s are in “hot water” over this prank
BBC Radio 4’s Today program announced that Northern Rail would replace train numbers with barcodes that trainspotters can photograph and then upload to the web via their smartphones. More here
Singer David Bowie got in on the act this year and actually approved this April Fools’ prank
An airline in the South Pacific announced it would start charging passengers by their weight. More here
YouTube caught a lot of people with this Video
Google got into the spirit with this Video
Gmail also had fun with colors on April Fools Day with this video
Richard Branson posted a note on his blog announcing the new Virgin Glass Bottomed Planes.
As for radio, I did not hear of many stations making the effort. If you did something special on 1 April, please let us know and we will update this post.