Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


April Fools' 1998: UC vs UK, the 6-year deal

UC and UK agree to six year deal: 

My last on-air April Fools' prank was April 1, 1998. It was so good that I have not attempted another prank since.

I was hosting middays, 10am-1pm on 1160 WBOB. The Big Dog, Tim Lewis, followed me from 1-4pm and Lap and Fish (Dave Lapham and Paul Sturgeon) were on 4-7pm.

The climate of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky sports was ripe for my prank.UC and UK basketball conversation was non-stop and red hot on Sports Talk radio in those days. We talked Bearcats, Wildcats and college hoops a lot. The conversation always came back to UC and UK needing to play each other. 

Two days earlier (March 30, 1998), Kentucky had beaten Utah to win the national championship in Tubby Smith's first season in Lexington. UC fans were still stinging from a 2nd round heartbreak loss to 10-seed West Virginia. The 2-seed Bearcats lost on a buzzer beating heave from WVU's Jarrod West.

I decided I'd shake things up that April 1, 1998. I announced on-air that multiple sources were telling me that UC and UK had reached an agreement on a six year home-home series. The series would begin at Rupp Arena in 1999, move to Shoemaker Center in 2000 and alternate each year after.

I used Jeff Piecoro to help execute the prank. He was working at WBOB at the time, and his ties to the University of Kentucky were perfect. He called in pretending to be in Lexington and he set the scene on campus. He provided details of what he was hearing about the agreement. He even dropped a "I saw C.M, I saw C.M" line, referring to Kentucky Athletic Director C.M. Newtown. The line was part of a legendary WBOB caller bit from months earlier that mocked UK fans.The bit was "You might be a Blueneck if........"

WBOB's Mike Lindeman called in with a 'live report' from the UC campus. While he was on air he indicated then UC Athletic Director Bob Goin walked by, giving him a "thumbs up" and a smile. My producer, Brad Martin, occasionally interrupted and handed me "developing" information as I was on the air. 

As the show unfolded and news spread, fans were in full meltdown mode. Fans were calling the UC and UK athletic departments seeking confirmation of the news and asking about how to purchase tickets. I remember 'Mike From Kentucky' calling in and stirring things up. I'm pretty sure UC Chris called in. It was on. 

Fans were calling in and arguing about who would win. The studio fax machine (yes, faxes) was cranking out listener fax after fax about the news. A local TV station called wanting information on the announcement.

I think the prank played out for maybe 90-minutes. I was getting calls from UC and UK officials that were not all that pleased. I remember taking off air calls from a couple of school officials actually asking if the news was true and if they'd missed something? I finally broke out laughing on the air and revealed the prank.

I found this column that John Fay wrote about the prank a week later.

McAlister no fool for WBOB

John Fay, Enquirer

Lance McAlister celebrated his first anniversary on WBOB-AM (1160) by jerking the chains of Kentucky and Cincinnati fans with an April Fools' Day joke. McAlister said there was going to be a press conference to announce a six-year basketball series between UK and UC.Listeners bought it hook, line and jumper. "I was surprised how many people bought it," he said.

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