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‘Jump Around’ taking state, world by storm

'Jump Around' takes place at 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Local stations taking part include Duluth's My 95.7 FM and KTCO 98.8 FM.

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The craze started the way many good things have begun in Wisconsin — while good friends were shooting the breeze and downing a few beers.

Now, a few weeks later, the "Jump Around Wisconsin" movement that originated at the end of Joe Lahti's and Greg Thomson's driveways on Emerson Street in Sun Prairie has 87,000 followers on Facebook.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, more than 90 radio stations across the state will be playing the same song — "Jump Around" by House of Pain, including Duluth stations My 95.7 FM and KTCO 98.8 FM.

And while "Jump Around" blasts from boom boxes and speakers, countless people around the state, country and world will be hopping up and down to the horn introduction and ensuing beats of the 1993 song that gets 80,000 fans creating so much energy on football Saturdays at Camp Randall Stadium.

This will be the third Saturday that "Jump Around Shake The Earth" will take place. The Sun Prairie neighbors are amazed by their project's popularity.

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It was just a little more than two weeks ago that Thomson, 47, and Lahti, 44, were sitting at the edge of their driveways enjoying "happy hour" as they had most nights since the coronavirus pandemic closed down shop throughout the country. They talked about TV newscasts that showed neighbors in Italy talking to each other while sitting on their balconies.

"We said we can't really do that here because we don't have balconies in Wisconsin," Thomson said in an interview via Zoom on Friday morning. "We should put a Wisconsin twist on it. And we thought 'Jump Around' was a perfect Wisconsin song."

Why wouldn't hopping around for three minutes unify and energize neighbors like the 80,000 fans at Camp Randall?

The next day, Thomson grabbed his boom box out of the basement, put it on Spotify, and Lahti and he jumped around.

They posted a notice on their neighborhood Facebook page. The next night, Lahti got his FM transponder out that shoots a radio signal out to about an eighth of a mile. It allowed their neighbors to tune in.

The videos on social media of the neighborhood jumps attracted attention — much more attention than they had anticipated.

"I figured it would get some likes from family members, especially out of state," Thomson said. "And it started picking up momentum from there."

Things get jumping

PBS Wisconsin did a "Wisconsin Life" segment on the neighborhood jumps.

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Madison TV stations did stories on the pair.

That is when the two neighbors expanded operations.

"I decided to reach out to some radio stations, and a couple picked up," Lahti said. "It was like a wildfire from there."

A Facebook page (Jump Around Wisconsin) was started. The initial statewide Jump Around event was Saturday, April 4.

Approximately 30 radio stations played "Jump Around" at 3 p.m.

The movement has grown faster than a 4-year-old the past week.

"Now we have 80 stations. Well, actually we just received another one this morning, so we're at 81," Lahti said a week ago. "It's crazy. We have the whole state of Wisconsin covered to play an early-90s hip-hop song. Which is crazy in itself."

It gets even crazier.

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Lahti and Thomson were uncertain about the copyright laws regarding the song. They were afraid Facebook and other outlets might blur posts due to infringement policies.

Lahti reached out to Daniel "Danny Boy" O'Connor, one of the three original members of House of Pain, and the record company Tommy Boy.

"I never thought I would get a response, because I'm just a middle-aged guy in the midwest," Lahti said. "But I did get contact back from Tommy Boy Records and their president, as well as Danny Boy. So that was exciting in itself."

The movement is more than about sports. Much like "Jump Around" gets the fans at Camp Randall going — even the opposing fans and players get into it — the idea behind this movement is to unify everyone in this dangerous and unknown time.

"I think the badger goes beyond sports," Thomson said. "It's not just the mascot of our college football team. It's our state symbol. That's why I think it's taken off so well."

The "Jump Around Wisconsin" page on Facebook has 87,000 followers. That's more than the capacity of Camp Randall Stadium. Followers include lifelong residents and former residents living throughout the world.

"We've had videos from Europe, from Australia, from Hawaii," Thomson said.

They received one from someone on a Caribbean island Thursday.

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"I was a little bit jealous," Lahti said.

People who check into the official live stream at twitchtv/jumpwisconsin can tune in at 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Songs by the University of Wisconsin band will be played, along with fan favorites such as "Sweet Caroline."

Lahti and Thomson said people listening to local radio stations should tune in by 2:58 p.m.

"We're going to have something that is really exciting," Lahti said of a lead-up announcement to "Jump Around."

How long the Saturday tradition will continue is unknown. What is known is that for 3 1/2 minutes every Saturday, people will have a chance to get out and express themselves. Buildings won't sway like the Camp Randall Stadium press box in between the third and fourth quarters, but it should bring smiles and energy to participants.

"Maybe we'll have the world's largest Jump Around," Lahti said.

That will include two guys at the end of their driveways on Emerson Street in Sun Prairie.

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