An April Fools’ Day joke played by KHTS AM 1220 Monday. garnered strong reaction from local residents, with responses ranging from amused to confused and even, in some cases, offended.
The radio station, which serves the Santa Clarita Valley, ran a story claiming that a toll booth had been placed on Soledad Canyon Road that would charge residents who wished to travel to the Valley’s west side. KHTS has since announced that the story was nothing more than a prank.
While some residents immediately saw the humor, others say that the topic of travel between the east and west sides of the Valley was not appropriate for satire. Some members of the Canyon Country Merchants Association, an organization of business owners attempting to improve the reputation of Canyon Country and increase travel to and from that part of the Valley, have expressed their discontent.
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce reported receiving complaints about the issue, as did the mayor, other City staff members, and at least one local media outlet. One listener reportedly suggested that the story was an effort by the mayor to test the resistance the City would face if it actually did try to install such a booth. The station denies that claim, asserting that the booth story was nothing more than an April Fools’ prank.
KHTS has since apologized for running the story and has promised to run more positive stories about Canyon Country in the coming weeks. The station says that, in retrospect, it understands the criticisms and welcomes any editorial response.
staff members, and at least one local media outlet. One listener reportedly suggested that the story was an effort by the mayor to test the resistance the City would face if it actually did try to install such a booth. The station denies that claim, asserting that the booth story was nothing more than an April Fools’ prank.
Most thought it was a harmless April Fools’ Day joke, but the various Facebook and e-mail comments make it clear that many were not so pleased.
*Note: Comments are printed as is, without editing spelling, grammar, etc.
*Although of course I appreciate the wit and time spent on the piece, I found it to be offensive to the residents of Canyon Country… We wanted to improve the quality and public perception of the business climate in Canyon Country. Your piece has the opposite effect of our goals. Fortunately for you, your business does not rely on the residents of Canyon Country, but mine does.
*Terrible article, not FUNNY at all. Way to promote more division and discrimination within our Valley… April Fool’s Day pranks should not be at the expense of others. Shame on you.
*This is like the old saying “One negative out shines ten positives”
*This was in poor taste I understand it was an April Fools joke. But those of us that live in Canyon Country are sick of those of you that trash talk us. We are proud of where we live and we know who our neighbors are. You have no promblems when your high school needs to RENT our stadium to play football cause you don’t have one or yours has no lights we are good enough for you then! Stop bashing Canyon Country and APOLOGIZE to all of Canyon Country for your small minded article we find NO HUMOR in it.
*I’ve done some edgy April Fools jokes in my industry and inevitably a small number of people are going to be offended with these. It’s a shame that some just can’t play along for a one day joke. This wasn’t a slam on Canyon Country, it’s just a joke. And Carl, I know you live on this side of town. I realize people are a bit tense with life’s stresses, but I think people should just lighten up.
*Geez…it was a JOKE. I guess people want to read in more that that into it. The key to a good April Fool’s joke is to make it completely outrageous and this one included many of the personalities the make Santa Clarita such an interesting place to live. I think it was great. Unfortunately some are too uptight to just see it for what it was. Nice work!
*OMG you got me for a second!
KHTS has since apologized for running the story and has promised to run more positive stories about Canyon Country in the coming weeks. The station says that, in retrospect, it understands the criticisms and welcomes any editorial response. (See article at bottom of page)
Readers, send us your ideas of a tasteful April Fools’ Day joke! E-mail Doug@scfree.net.
Our KHTS April Fool’s prank of placing a toll booth on the Camp Plenty Bridge received thousands of comments. While 99 percent of these have been positive, about a dozen residents are not happy with our humor.
For those who do not see the humor, we apologize. Our intent, like most humor, was to heavily exaggerate to allow everyone to see the issues from a different perspective. My wife and I are strong supporters of Canyon Country. We have lived in Canyon Country for 22 years. Our kids went to public school in Canyon Country. Both our KHTS studios and transmitter site are in Canyon Country.
Over the years, we have been one of Canyon Country’s leading supporters. That’s why we felt that if anyone could justify having a little fun with the east side of the valley, we could.
There is a small minority of residents who do not see the humor in our story and are truly upset. We appreciate their feelings and apologize for anyone we may have inadvertently offended.
We have also heard feedback from City (of Santa Clarita) staff who have mentioned that upset KHTS listeners and readers have contacted them regarding our fake news story. Now is as good an opportunity as any to mention that City of Santa Clarita staff and officials had absolutely no involvement or prior knowledge of our prank.
The Assemblyman Scott Wilk quotes were not authorized — actually they were made up out of whole cloth. However, it is still the opinion of both radio station co-owners that he is “boyishly good looking.”
We also did not speak to any representatives from Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon’s Beverly Hills office.
By Carl Goldman; printed with permission from KHTS