EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 29, 2012

Food vouchers are turkeys at City Hall

LAWRENCE — Ho. Ho. Hoax.

That’s what listeners to radio station WNNW got yesterday morning, when they responded to a broadcast advising them that Mayor William Lantigua was giving away free food vouchers at City Hall.

Several hungry listeners showed up at Lantigua’s third-floor corner office beginning at 8:30 a.m., when they found that the free food vouchers were turkeys.

“It was a joke they made,” said Lantigua’s receptionist, Johelly Challas, referring to the Spanish-language radio station, which broadcasts at 800 on the AM dial and bills itself as “Boston’s Hispanic Radio Station.”

WNNW Program Director Juan “DJ Babypaisa” Gonzalez said the broadcast was a prank timed for the day Latin America celebrates what the United States celebrates on April 1.

“As far as I understand, it was an April Fools’ joke they pulled on their listeners,” Gonzalez said, referring to Richie Herrera, Paul Easy and Awilda Reyes, who host a morning show called “El Calenton de la Manana,” or “The Heat of the Morning.”

Gonzalez said the hosts “clarified before the show was over that it was a Dec. 28 April Fools’ joke,” but by then the bogus word was out.

Challas would not say how many people showed up at Lantigua’s office or describe their mood when they were turned away empty-handed. She said everyone was intercepted in the reception area and did not make it through the door to Lantigua’s inner suite of offices.

Lantigua did not respond to a message left with Challas.

WNNW is part of a group of local radio stations owned in part by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., a Birmingham, Ala., company that also owns The Eagle-Tribune.

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