1st of April
April Fools Day is the one day of the year that people critically evaluate news articles before accepting them as true.
Was the Moon landing faked? In 1967, Swiss Radio interrupted its regularly scheduled program with a news flash “U.S. astronauts have just landed on the moon.” For the next hour, listeners heard a series of elaborately staged updates, complete with reports from correspondents around the world and interviews with experts. It was another two years before U.S. astronauts actually did land on the moon, and another 50 later still not everyone is convinced that they did. (I blame the Swiss) As the broadcast concluded listeners were told they could “…see it return to Earth by watching from a high vantage point, away from the city lights.” In Zurich, this prompted a mass exodus of people out of the city up to nearby Mt. Uetliberg.
Have you heard of Operation Parallax? On 1st of April, 1979 Capital Radio (London) announced that would soon go into effect. This was a government plan to resynchronize the British calendar. The station explained that, “…ever since 1945, Britain had gradually become 48 hours ahead of the rest of the world because of the constant switching back and forth from British Summer Time. To remedy this situation, the government had decided to cancel April 5 and 12 that year.” The station was flooded with concerned callers who wanted to know what happened if their birthday or anniversary fell on the cancelled days, and employers asking payroll questions.
Nixon for President April 1, 1992: National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation revealed that Richard Nixon, in a surprise move, was running for President again. His new campaign slogan was, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” Accompanying this announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech. Listeners responded viscerally to the announcement, flooding the show with calls expressing shock and outrage. Only during the second half of the show did the host John Hockenberry reveal that the announcement was a practical joke. Nixon’s voice was impersonated by comedian Rich Little.