April Fools Day has long been a particularly attractive playground for radio stations, but it sometimes gets them into hot water. Such is the case for Kemp Communications’ Hot 97.5 KVEG-FM in Las Vegas, which told listeners that the local school system was going to start charging $100/month tuition. The FCC is said to be investigating.
The prank, staged by morning team Krazie Kat and JNoise, resulted in the station being flooded with phone calls from concerned parents. While that can be seen as KVEG’s just desserts, it was not so easy to laugh off the relentless phone calls directed to the school system itself. To say the least, educational authorities were not amused.
According to reports and listener feedback, even citizens who were able to put together a sudden imposition of fees from the public education system — an act of highly dubious legality which would require untold months of debate and public outcry to push through — and the date on the calendar — were also not particularly amused.
For a legal rundown on broadcast hoaxes, see Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice attorney Gregg Skall’s “Fooling Some of the People Some of the Time” here:
RBR/TVBR observation: This prank may come in a gray area between obvious actionable mischief and allowable mischief, but that will be up to the FCC to decide. It did cause actual harm, in the form of lost productivity for school administrators, and mental anguish for more than a few susceptible listenrs.