Format Change Stunt In Muscle Shoals Leads To Extra School Security And AAA
Update 8/30: The alien invasion is over and WMSR has flipped from CHR to AAA. Now branding as “The New Star 94.9“, the station is positioning itself as “Modern Hit Music” with no repeats from 9am to 5pm weekdays.
The first hour of “The New Star 94.9” consisted of:
Del Amitri – Roll To Me
Talking Heads – And She Was
Kelly Clarkson – Catch My Breath
Tears For Fears – Mothers Talk
Capital Cities – Safe And Sound
Jackson Browne – Running On Empty
Dirty Heads – Lay Me Down
Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me)
Neon Trees – Everybody Talks
Michael Franti – Sound Of Sunshine
Sara Bareillis – Brave
Killers – Somebody Told Me
Band Of Heathens – Nine Steps Down
The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather
Coldplay – Clocks
Original Report 8/29: A stunt leading into a new format for URBan Radio’s CHR “Star 94” 94.9 WMSR Collinwood, TN/Muscle Shoals, AL has somehow escalated into local law enforcement placing extra security at area schools.
On Monday, WMSR began airing drops from “two aliens” planning on taking over the station later this week. At 9am this morning the station began stunting with a different micro-format every hour which included the aliens commentary on the music. The new format is expected to launch on Friday.
Somehow some of the early drops from the aliens led to listeners to believe that the 9am takeover today were going to lead to bombings at area schools. Despite warnings from local police that it was just a programming stunt, local towns placed extra police officers at schools to placate those who thought the threat was real. In response on Tuesday, the station posted the following message on its Facebook page:
“Like” if you understand that aliens and radio hackerz are NOT a real thing but that Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster totally are. “Like” also if you want us to continue our little piece of radio theater.
And posted a compilation of the sweepers promoting the “takeover”.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/107576195″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
In regards to the stunt, WMSR PD Brian Rickman told AL.com,
We came up with what we thought was a really fun storyline and that would be that these aliens or star people were hacking into the radio station. The concept being that they heard our frequency several light years away, they didn’t like Justin Bieber and the pop music we were playing and they were going to take over the radio station and adjust the format. We thought it was clever.
Rickman also apologized to the community on WAFF-TV where he compared the misunderstanding to a game of telephone, “I don’t blame any of the listeners if they misunderstood. That’s understandable, but I don’t think most of this was caused by our listeners. It became something completely different and by the time we got a hold of it, there didn’t seem to be a way to slow it down.”
In a way its good to know that as we approach the 75th anniversary of the first airing of Orson Welles’ War Of The Worlds that radio still has the ability to generate this much excitement from programming.