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Final Word: KTAR’s best April Fools’ prank

I’m not much for practical jokes.

My mom always taught me it wasn’t funny to have fun at someone else’s expense (sShe was a little sensitive, so I grew up NOT playing jokes, for the most part.

And THEN I worked in radio.

And I learned that most radio stations like to have fun with their listeners on April Fools’ Day. One radio station put out the news that at the zoo in their town, the penguins were laying golden eggs.

Another aired a news story saying that April 1 was the last day that residents could go to the bank and exchange their cash for new bills that were impervious to counterfeit.

Here at KTAR, we’ve had some duds and some great ones.
The perfect prank is believable enough that it never occurs to you you’re being had.

My favorite goes back to 1993. The Suns were the sports story of the year — they went to the NBA Finals.

Their games were pretty popular on TV, to say the least.
But for the first time that year, many of the games were on cable instead of broadcast. And they were pay-per-view, in the early days of the concept. It wasn’t well received.

People would plan their day around watching and listening to the Suns. Every workplace had a radio so employees didn’t miss a minute. Best part? Of course, radio was free.

So KTAR got together with Suns owner Jerry Colangelo and crafted a prank for the ages: pay-per-listen.

The idea was that the Suns were manufacturing special radios that would only play the game while the listener fed it quarters.

Jerry played it up like a pro, throwing in comments about special programming for those who paid early, and how great it was to communicate directly with the Suns fans who had the most quarters.

People swallowed it, hook, line and sinker.

Happy April 1!