by Tracy Johnson
Over the years, listeners have become increasingly sensitive (and vocal) about being the victim of April Fool’s jokes. And, with the power of social media, a prank gone awry can be damaging. That may deter some stations from doing anything at all. But it doesn’t have to. It may be better to turn the joke on a cast member. When you prank your partner, listeners can laugh along with you!
That’s what Bailey and Southside, the morning show on Rock 100.5/Atlanta did.
First, some background to put the bit in context:
For this prank, Steve’s co-host, Jason Bailey, started several weeks in advance. Posing as a former bar patron who made it big in Hollywood, he set Steve up to believe he was being considered to be the main voice of a character in an animated movie called Redneck Rabbit.
The storyline developed on air and off for a few weeks. It was played to perfection by Bailey, and the other cast members, Brandi and Nate.
The reveal happened on April Fool’s day at 7am. Listen as they tell the story. Here’s Part 1
Skipping ahead a bit (this played out over 45 minutes), here’s the payoff:
Here’s what I love about it:
They tell the story in layers.
Just when you think ti’s about to peak, the storyline takes on another gear.
This is a great example of pulling back the curtain to let listeners in on what’s happening behind the scenes without being self-indulgent.
Steve’s response is fantastic. You can hear the disappointment (authentic) but he does so in his good natured way (also authentic). This makes him even more relatable and likable.
This took a tremendous amount of time and energy to set up and deliver. Bailey and the other cast members worked hard for weeks to set up this payoff (check out the website they created here). And it did pay off.
This is one of those defining moments for the show. One of the theories I believe in (and emphasize with clients) is to plan your show as a Series of One Thing:
This ticks all four boxes.
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