One of the best radio promotion that I ever conceived and executed was on April Fool’s Day, 1995.
First some context: KJR-FM had introduced it’s “Greatest Hits Of The ’70s” in July 1994. As of April 1995 the format had only been on the air for ten months. Fans of ’70s Top 40 music could be roughly broken into two factions. Rock and rollers, who couldn’t stand disco music and those, a much smaller group, who thought disco was fun dancing music. KJR-FM played very little disco. Our research showed that it didn’t fare well when compared to the power of Elton John, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller, Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones, Chicago, Grand Funk, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steely Dan, Boston, et al.
A week before April 1st . . . We start airing ominous sounding announcements about a serious change that was coming to KJR-FM “this Saturday” (Never mentioning the date: April First).
At noon on Saturday we announced we were now “Disco 95.7!!” And commenced playing only disco hits from the 1970s (by the way, there are only 33 legitimate disco hit songs from the ’70s — I did the research).
Everyone in the building wanted an air shift. Chet Buchanan and Shellie Hart from KUBE begged me to let them on the air for the fun. (Both confessed how much they loved saying the call letters.) I think we each had like . . . two hour air shifts. I took the first . . . noon to 2 p.m. Damn I wish I had tape. We had some cool bumpers, sweepers and jingles.
Needless to say the phones went crazy. The calls were eighty percent negative -but- for the first six hours we only put the positive calls on the air. Around 6 p.m. we started sprinkling in a few negative calls. The passion on both sides, by the way, was impressive. By 10 p.m. all of the calls we aired were from listeners who were really pissed at us and/or pleading to bring back the “old” format. And at midnight we did — with a big “APRIL FOOLS.” For the rest of weekend we ran promos/announcements featuring voices of relieved listeners, funny stories about being fooled . .. not remembering the date, etc. It was very entertaining.
Sorry to say I have not, as of yet, come across any recording from KJR-FM, 95.7, Seattle, April 1, 1995.