video title: Interview with Chris Collins #2: April Fools Radio
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video source: SacTVnews
uploaded on YouTube March 31, 2012

more info: Playlist
duration 3:34 minutes

Interview with Chris Collins #2: April Fools Radio "Video of the Day" review by Alex Cosper on April 1, 2012

April Fools Day was once an important day on every radio calendar as a fun day to catch the audience off guard. Chris Collins and Kill R Bee of the FM 102 Morning Zoo in the 80s and 90s joke about pranks they played on the air when anything was possible. Collins says one year FM 102 told the listeners they were going country on April 1, imitating Sacramento country station KRAK, which on the AM dial at the time. Switching from hip hop to country at that time would not have made sense at the peak of the station's popularity. Collins says the prank worked for about twenty minutes, culminating with irate listeners calling in and a warning from the hotline. The video takes another twist, pointing out that today's radio industry changes formats as serious gestures that turn into big jokes. Read more about Sacramento radio history here

Part of what made April Fools a fun day at many radio stations was that at that time in the eighties and nineties a high percentage of people could be fooled by the radio. The famous Lincoln quote about how "you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time" did not apply that much to radio, in which large audiences were constantly fooled every April Fools Day and beyond. Many people simply gave the medium of radio credibility since it constantly satisfied their desires to hear a consistent stream of favorite songs and entertainment.

The most interesting time marker in radio history concerning fooled audiences was the War of the Worlds broadcast with Orson Wells in the 1930s. Radio was such a new medium at the time that it was not questioned for its content, because it was too busy being admired for its technology. The medium had not been known for fooling its audiences on a mass level until the newscast-sounding broadcast, which actually had listeners believing that aliens were invading Earth. The event was actually an experiment in advertising research and psychology, funded by big companies, to find out how powerful the medium could be at influencing society.

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