Although your superior correspondents don’t know how many people were sucked in by WBRU’s April Fools’ Day joke, the biggest dupes had to be the newsies at NBC-10. On March 30, WJAR led its 11 pm broadcast with how rumors about a format change at the local rock staple, and possibly even its sale, were swirling around the Brown campus. (WBRU is not owned by the university, but by a separate, independent entity). Southern New England’s most gullible . . . er, we mean, leading news station went so far as to air man-on-the-street-style reaction from students outraged and despondent about the impending change.
The perennial TV ratings leader’s fall for this somewhat predictable hoax certainly gave it more widespread credibility than anything WBRU could have generated on its own. A day later, on the morning of March 31, the JARheads wised up a bit. While still airing a report on the rumored changes, morning anchor Frank Coletta opined, with his trademark knowing wink, that the following day was April 1st and the WBRU story might indeed have something to do with the timing.
Congrats to the ’BRU folks who planned and executed this hoax with great skill and had quite a bit of fun with it in the process. (Although Motif, an arts and entertainment rag, exhibited less than stellar journalistic sense by aiding and abetting another media entity’s gag; the periodical, in fact, was the main attribution cited in Channel 10’s overly credulous report.) With ’BRU jocks announcing what they said would be their last appearances on the station, listeners were primed for the new format introduced on Fri¬day — “Buddy-FM,” a variation on the retro/MOR schlock “Jack” format. ’BRU alumnus Dr. Oldie was listening in and smelled a rat. He called Casa Diablo, noting, “The actual format has some sort of intelligent design to it, but this is way over the top . . . it’s obviously a parody of the format.”
As Andy Smith reported in the Other Paper, “The new format was a bizarre musical mishmash, from Johnny Cash to Black Sab¬bath to Celine Dion to the Village People . . . (Actually, Buddy-FM was far more daring, in its very weird way, than anything else on the radio. You truly didn’t know what you’d hear next.)” Jorge was reminded of a program, The Stevie Thunder Bad Taste and Immaturity Hour, that he was involved with at URI in the late ’60s. Wayne Newton’s music was a staple and the mikes were kept open to heighten the enjoyment by singing along. Needless to say, that particular “format” has yet to be revived.
Film critic as visionary
Your superior correspondents were quite impressed by Michael Janusonis’s bold BeloJo review of Basic Instinct 2, the sequel to the hit movie that made Sharon Stone a star.
Janusonis gave it four stars and praised Stone’s performance as a near-comedic gem. Unfortunately, the film totally tanked last week, and P&J were hard-pressed to find any other critics who were enamored by, or even noticed, the comedic elements that Michael found so appealing. In the New York Times, for example, Manohla Dargis subtly wrote: “It should come as no surprise that Basic Instinct 2, the long-gestating follow-up to Paul Verhoeven’s 1992 blip on the zeitgeist screen, is a disaster of the highest or perhaps the lowest order. It is also no surprise that this joyless calculation, which was directed by Michael Caton-Jones and possesses neither the first film’s sleek wit not its madness, is such a prime object lesson in the degradation that can face Hollywood actresses, especially those over 40. Acting always involves a degree of self-abasement, but just watching trash like this is degrading.”