Did you get "fooled" on April Fool's Day?
Twenty-four years ago, what many consider the best April Fools Prank in Virginia, took place in Hampton Roads.
Starting at 6:30 a.m. on April 1st, 1992, disc jockeys Henry "The Bull" Del Toro and Tommy Griffiths of WNOR-FM 99 warned listeners that Mt. Trashmore was about to explode. They attributed the pending explosion to a University of Virginia seismologist's study that had detected a methane-gas buildup under the old dump. For more than an hour, they issued news flashes about the imminent disaster and the danger of "low-flying dirt clods." The disc jockeys got the newscaster, weather and traffic reporters to play along.
Then they took it to the next level and issued an evacuation warning, telling everyone within a seven-mile radius of Mount Trashmore to get out of Dodge.
You can guess what happened next. The folks who believed that the danger was real started leaving, and others flooded the local emergency lines with phone calls of disbelief and panic. The station was forced to stop the broadcast at 7:45 a.m.,when police showed up at the station in Chesapeake.
After hundreds of complaints to the FCC, and threats of disciplinary fines and actions, the station and disc jockeys got what amounted to a slap on the wrist. As one FCC official put it, "What they did at the station that morning was without malice, but it was stupid."
Griffiths, Del Toro, news director Gigi Young and program director Buzz Knight were suspended without pay for two weeks, but what a way to leave a mark.
Adapted from article by pilotonline.com | Photo: Jerry on Flikr :)