The announcement was covered on Sunday by Rapport, which was apparently not in on the joke.
When TheMediaOnline asked Michelle van Os, public relations manager, on Monday (31 March) if the announcement was an April 1st joke, she at first stuck to her story; as did her assistant.
Aside from the fact that neither the move nor the way in which the announcement was handled would make sense, TheMediaOnline was suspicious of Van Os’s invitation to attend a march on Tuesday (1 April) against the “decision” led by singer Kurt Darren: Why would the station encourage coverage of an event that opposed its strategy?
When a copy of a press statement was requested from Van Os’s office, a statement by Darren’s representative was sent to TheMediaOnline. And when the station’s own release eventually arrived, it was not in the usual format and did a poor job of explaining the controversial “move”: Why send out a release on a controversial decision in which you do not attempt to explain or defend it? Why announce a “ban” on Afrikaans music out of the blue, based on audience research, only to state that you would review your decision in a few weeks’ time based on the same audience’s response?
When it was put to Van Os that something was not right, she eventually admitted that it was a joke.
“We do it every year,” she said. “Kurt (Darrren) was in on it from the get-go.”
Previous jokes that fooled quite a few listeners included an announcement that the station had been sold to a Nigerian consortium and that “ordinary” citizens would no longer be able to drive in a specific lane as it would be reserved for politicians.
Van Os said Rapport reported on the matter without knowing it was a joke. “We will take them to lunch. I’m sure they will take it in good spirit,” she said.
She said there was no chance that the station would stop playing Afrikaans music.
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