War of the Roses (radio show)

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The War of the Roses is the name of a radio broadcast radio skit, which is a registered service mark owned by the Capstar Radio Operating Company.[1] a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications [2]

For awhile, the bit was believed to be real. Though due to FCC rules that require broadcasters to notify people that they intend to tape them for broadcast, the bits are staged with actors either using a script or ad-libbed. [3] While the hosts have stated numerous times that the show is real, claiming that they have to go through legal first, there has never been any proof of a real person participating in these skits.


The general format of the skit is that the host of a radio show calls man with an offer of free roses, then asks the man where he would like to have them delivered. However, the girlfriend or significant other is in fact silently listening to the call the entire time, having previously been contacted by the host.

During the phone call, the host asks the suspect questions that will hopefully reveal the identity of the subject of their affair, and other questions that may help understand the nature of it. For example, the host will typically ask the suspect for one or two sentences to be used as an optional "personal message" to be included with the gift, before asking for the name of the desired recipient. Once the suspect gives up the name and reveals the secret relationship, the spouse or significant other is free to jump in and chastise the guilty party over the phone.

The ruse may be improvised depending on what is believed to most likely attract the suspect's attention. Examples used include free concert tickets for a man who "couldn't stop talking about how Beyoncé is coming to town next week but who still hasn't asked [his wife] to go" with him, or a purported call from a venereal disease clinic. The VD ruse involved stating that "someone with a disease listed you as a recent sexual partner, but we can only tell you more (for confidentiality reasons) if you can tell us the name of the person who might have referred you".[4]

Often, suspects are confused and bewildered when confronted on the phone, because they are unaware that they've been taken in by a ruse, and often believe their significant other is really at home listening on an extension. Suspects who believe this continue with the prize dialogue with the radio station host and continue to embarrass themselves, unaware that the entire call is a prank.

Other suspects turn out to not be cheating at all, and end up sending the roses - and the embarrassment along with them - to their significant other who initiated the call.


One of the earliest known segments was done in 1996 on Andy Savage's radio program "The Edge" based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Savage bit was real, and confirmed on Snopes.com [5]

War of the Roses was created in early 1994 by Los Angeles radio personality Rick Dees shortly after receiving word that crosstown KGGI Riverside/San Bernardino morning show host Sean "Hollywood" Hamilton was having tremendous rating success with a similar feature called "Bait Your Mate".

War of the Roses in Popular Culture[edit]

The War of the Roses skit is often the subject of the Jocktober segment from the Opie and Anthony radio show. During the month of October, Opie and Anthony play bits from different radio shows around the country, that they consider dishonest or not humorous. Many of these bits are prank or phony phone calls, which instead of being real, are actually scripted or adlibbed bits performed by actors due to FCC rules.

Station List[edit]