WKRP in Cincinnati

WKRP in Cincinnati
WKRP in Cincinnati
WKRP in Cincinnati.jpg
Series title card
Genre Sitcom
Created by Hugh Wilson
Starring Gary Sandy
Howard Hesseman
Gordon Jump
Loni Anderson
Tim Reid
Jan Smithers
Richard Sanders
Frank Bonner
Theme music composer Tom Wells
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 88 (90 in syndication) (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Hugh Wilson
Producer(s) Rod Daniel
Bill Dial
Blake Hunter
Steven Kampmann
Peter Torokvei
Hugh Wilson
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 24–25 minutes
Production company(s) MTM Enterprises
Distributor Jim Victory Television
MTM Enterprises
20th Century Fox Television
Original channel CBS
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 18, 1978 (1978-09-18) – September 20, 1982 (1982-09-20)
Followed by The New WKRP in Cincinnati

WKRP in Cincinnati is an American situation comedy that featured the misadventures of the staff of a struggling fictional radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. The show was created by Hugh Wilson and was based upon his experiences working in advertising sales at Top 40 radio station WQXI (AM) in Atlanta. The ensemble cast consisted of Gary Sandy, Howard Hesseman, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson, Tim Reid, Jan Smithers, Richard Sanders and Frank Bonner.[1]

As was typical of most MTM productions, the humor came more from running gags based on the known predilections and quirks of each character, rather than from outlandish plots or racy situations, since the show has a realistic setting. The characters also developed somewhat over the course of the series.

The series won a Humanitas Prize and received 10 Emmy Award nominations, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series. Andy Ackerman won an Emmy Award for Videotape Editing in season 3.

WKRP premiered September 18, 1978, on the CBS television network and aired for four seasons and 88 episodes (90 in syndication) through September 20, 1982. During the third and fourth seasons, CBS repeatedly moved the show around its schedule, contributing to its eventual cancellation.

When WKRP went into syndication, it became an unexpected blockbuster. For the next decade, it was one of the most popular sitcoms in syndication, outperforming many much bigger prime time hits, including all the other MTM Enterprises sitcoms.

Jump, Sanders, and Bonner reprised their supporting roles in a spin-off/sequel series, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, which ran from 1991 to 1993 in syndication.



The station's new programming director Andy Travis tries to turn around struggling radio station WKRP, despite the well-meaning efforts of the mostly incompetent staff: bumbling station manager Arthur Carlson, oily sales manager Herb Tarlek, and clueless news director Les Nessman. Rounding out the cast are super receptionist Jennifer Marlowe, enthusiastic junior employee Bailey Quarters, and spaced-out veteran disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever. To help bolster ratings, Travis hires a new disc jockey from New Orleans, Venus Flytrap. Lurking in the background and making an occasional appearance is ruthless business tycoon Mrs. Carlson, the station's owner (and Arthur Carlson's mother).


  • Andy Travis (Gary Sandy). For the most part, program director Andy Travis serves as the straight man for the eccentric staff of the station he has been hired to run. Before coming to WKRP, he had an unblemished record of turning around failing radio stations, but meets his match in his wacky staff members, of whom he becomes distressingly fond. The show's opening theme song is about Andy and his decision to settle down in Cincinnati; in the episode "The Creation of Venus", Andy echoes the opening theme lyrics in talking about his past ("Got kinda tired of packing and unpacking, town to town, up and down the dial").
Les Nessman and Johnny Fever in the studio
Johnny Fever flirts with Jennifer
Bailey Quarters and Andy Travis
  • Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump), occasionally called the "Big Guy", is the middle-aged general manager, whose main qualification for the job is that his business tycoon mother is the owner. His bumbling, indecisive management is one of the main reasons the station is unprofitable, although he is ultimately a principled, kind, decent and sometimes surprisingly wise man. (Coincidentally, Gordon Jump in real life had been a Dayton, Ohio, radio personality.)
  • Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) is a burned-out veteran disc jockey who came to WKRP after being fired from a major station in Los Angeles when he said "booger" on the air. After the station changes format, one of his first on-air words (after being told he would not be fired for saying it) is "booger". Cynical and neurotic, he is usually in one sort of trouble or another. Though the character's real name is John Caravella, he often uses an air name, notably including Johnny Cool, Johnny Duke, Johnny Style, Johnny Midnight, Johnny Sunshine, Professor Sunshine, Rip Tide and Heavy Early. This role is possibly Howard Hesseman's signature role. Hesseman had been a disc jockey for a brief time.
  • Les Nessman (Richard Sanders), the fastidious, bow-tied news reporter, approaches his job with absurd seriousness, despite being almost totally incompetent. For instance, he mispronounces golfer Chi-Chi Rodriguez's name as "Chy Chy Rod-ri-gweeze". His best friend is fellow employee Herb Tarlek. As a running gag, Nessman wears a bandage in a different spot each episode. It is suggested that these bandages are the result of repeated attacks by Phil, Nessman's monstrous dog (who is never seen but is heard growling in another room in Nessman's apartment). In fact, the bandages are a running in-joke. During taping of the pilot, Richard Sanders bumped his head on a studio light and had to wear a bandage to cover the cut. From then on, Sanders decided, Les Nessman would always wear a bandage. Other gags are Nessman's winning the "Silver Sow" award for hog reporting and having masking tape on the carpet in front of his desk, which represents the "walls" of his office. WKRP is sometimes promoted as "The station with more music and Les Nessman."
  • Jennifer Marlowe (Loni Anderson) is the station's gorgeous blonde receptionist, and the station's highest-paid employee. Despite her image, she is informed, wise, and able to handle practically any situation with aplomb, no matter how absurd. Although very aware of her sex appeal, with various wealthy, powerful men at her beck and call, she is friendly and good-hearted with the station staff.
  • Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner), full name Herbert Ruggles Tarlek, Jr., the boorish, tasteless advertising account executive, wears loud plaid suits, with his belt matching his white shoes. He can't land the big accounts, usually succeeding only in selling air time for trivial products such as "Red Wigglers — the Cadillac of worms!" Although married to Lucille (Edie McClurg), he persistently pursues Jennifer, who has absolutely no interest in him. While Herb is portrayed as buffoonish most of the time, he does occasionally show a sympathetic side. Tarlek was based on radio executive Clarke Brown.[2][3]
  • Venus Flytrap (Tim Reid), the soulful, funky evening DJ, runs his show with a smooth-talking persona and mood lighting in the studio. His real name, Gordon Sims, is almost never used and he maintains an aura of mystery. In an early episode, it is revealed that Gordon Sims is a Vietnam veteran who is wanted for desertion from the US Army. In later episodes, Venus's backstory is changed, and it is revealed that he spent several years as a high-school teacher before becoming a radio personality.
  • Bailey Quarters (Jan Smithers), the young ingénue of the radio station, is originally in charge of billing and station traffic. However, having graduated from journalism school with some training in editing, and intent on becoming a broadcast executive, she is later given additional duties as an on-air news reporter, in which capacity she proves much more capable than Les. As the series progresses, she overcomes her shyness and develops self-confidence. Beginning with the second season, she occasionally becomes linked romantically with Johnny Fever. The dynamic between Jennifer and Bailey has been likened to that between Ginger and Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island. Jan Smithers was one of the few WKRP cast members who was the first choice for the role she played (Gordon Jump being the other one).[1] Creator Hugh Wilson said that despite Smithers' lack of experience (she had never done a situation comedy before), she was perfect for the character of Bailey as he had conceived her: "Other actresses read better for the part", Wilson recalled, "but they were playing shy. Jan was shy."[1]
  • Mrs. Carlson (Sylvia Sidney in the series pilot, Carol Bruce afterward) is Arthur Carlson's ruthless, domineering mother and the owner of WKRP. An extremely successful and rich businesswoman, her only regret is that her approach to parenting (the "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" school of child-rearing) backfired; her son ended up indecisive, weak-willed and afraid of her. In the final episode of the series, it is revealed that she had always intended WKRP to lose money (for the tax writeoff), which explains why she allows the incompetent employees to continue working at the station. The only one who is regularly able to get the better of her is her sarcastic butler, Hirsch (Ian Wolfe). She and Hirsch are not regular characters, only appearing in three or four episodes each season.
  • Three other DJs at the station are mentioned, but (with one exception) never seen: Moss Steiger has the graveyard shift after Venus and is mentioned as having attempted suicide at least twice; Rex Erhardt (who was finally seen in the fourth season episode "Rumors") hosts a program after Dr. Johnny Fever's morning show; and "Dean the Dream" has the afternoon drive slot. Another DJ, Doug Winner (Philip Charles MacKenzie), is hired and fired in the same episode ("Goodbye Johnny...Part 2").
  • Series writer Bill Dial occasionally shows up as engineer Bucky Dornster.
  • Longtime actor William Woodson (though not credited) served as the announcer of the series (imploring the audience to stay tuned for the tag scene, in the episodes that had one) and did various voice-over roles during the run, including the pre-recorded announcer of the intro/outro to Les' newscasts, and the narrator of the trial results in the first season episode "Hold Up".


In the pilot episode, Andy Travis comes to the station as the new Program Director, hired to improve the dismal ratings of the beautiful music station, run by weak-willed Arthur Carlson. Travis abruptly changes the programming format to rock music, but WKRP's ratings fail to improve significantly in the Cincinnati market (although even the mild rise that does occur is considered wonderful by the other employees), mostly because of his unwillingness to fire the existing personnel when he takes over; their idiosyncrasies are more to blame for the station's fortunes than its format.

One of WKRP in Cincinnati's best-known and most-loved episodes ("Turkeys Away") is a comic account of a disastrous promotion initiated by Carlson. As a publicity stunt, the station drops live turkeys out of a helicopter over a shopping center as a Thanksgiving Day giveaway. The domestic turkeys, which cannot fly, plunge to their deaths as shoppers run for their lives. The entire event, however, occurs entirely off-screen, as the viewer only sees and hears Les Nessman describe the scene in words reminiscent of Herbert Morrison's reporting of the Hindenburg disaster. A shaken Arthur Carlson later remarks, "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." It was named by TV Guide as one of the greatest episodes in television history. This episode, along with the "dancing ducks" episode, is based on real events occurring at WQXI in Atlanta, a station at which series creator Hugh Wilson worked while in the advertising business.[4]

The episode "In Concert" was inspired by a real event: the tragic concert by The Who at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum on December 3, 1979.

Time slots

The show started out performing badly; placed in a tough time slot, it got poor ratings and was put on hiatus after only eight episodes, even though they included some of the most famous of the series, including "Turkeys Away." But due to good reviews and positive fan reaction, especially from disc jockeys, who immediately hailed it as the first show that really understood the radio business, CBS decided to bring WKRP back without any cast changes.

WKRP was given a new time slot, one of the best on the network, following M*A*S*H. This allowed creator Hugh Wilson to move away from farcical radio-based stories, which is what CBS mostly wanted at the beginning, and start telling stories that, while not necessarily serious, were more low-key and character-based. To allow the ensemble to mingle more, the set was expanded. A previously unseen communal office area ("the bullpen") was added to accommodate scenes with the entire cast.

Partway through the second season, the show was moved back to its original earlier time. CBS executives wanted to free up the prized post-M*A*S*H slot for House Calls (with former M*A*S*H star Wayne Rogers). They also felt that the rock n' roll music and the sex appeal of Loni Anderson were better-suited to the earlier slot, which at that time was thought of as mostly aimed at young people. For the next two seasons, the writers and producers often had to fight CBS over what kind of content was appropriate for a show in the so-called "family hour".

During the third and fourth seasons, CBS moved WKRP around repeatedly, so much so that cast and crew members claimed that even they didn't know when the show aired. After the fourth season, the network decided not to renew the show. The final first-run episode of WKRP to air ranked No. 7 in the weekly Nielsen ratings for all series, specials and sports events. Prior to the broadcast, the series had already been cancelled.


WKRP was videotaped before a live studio audience at Goldenwest Videotape Division, later moving to the CBS Studio Center.[5]

In the opening credits for the episode titled "Fish Story", Hugh Wilson went under the name of Raoul Plager. He was under pressure by CBS to write a more broad comedy, but since he didn't want to be credited for work that he believed was beneath him, he used the alias. The episode turned out to be the highest rated in the show's run.

Los Angeles disc jockey Steve Marshall of KNX-FM submitted a spec script for WKRP which was bought by the producers. He later joined the writing staff of the show, briefly holding down both jobs simultaneously.

Producers Dan Guntzelman and Steve Marshall also created and produced Just the Ten of Us, which featured Frank Bonner in a supporting role as a Catholic priest. Blake Hunter co-created Who's the Boss?

George Gaynes directed the series' final episode ("Up and Down the Dial"). Gaynes is best known for playing Henry Warnimont on Punky Brewster and Eric Lassard in the Police Academy movies.

Fact vs. fiction

The "Real" WKRP people

Characters on the show were based on real people, including those known by executive producer Hugh Wilson.[6] The character of Arthur Carlson was based on an actual person, as were Andy Travis and Dr. Johnny Fever. The real Arthur Carlson managed a group of radio stations across the country under the name Susquehanna Radio. Based in York, Pennsylvania, it was one of the first radio "chains" to emerge in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Susquehanna was owned by the Appell family, and is now known as CMPSusquehanna, the "CMP" standing for Cumulus Media Partners after a 2007 merger with Cumulus. Carlson also was a past president of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).

While Andy Travis received his name and some personality elements from a cousin of Wilson,[7] he was based primarily on innovative program director Mikel Herrington,[8] who also was the inspiration for the character Jeff Dugan in the 1978 film FM, written by Ezra Sacks who had worked at KMET.[9]

Dr. Johnny Fever was based on a DJ named "Skinny" Bobby Harper at WQXI/790 in Atlanta, Georgia (in 1968).[6] WKRP writer Bill Dial worked with Harper at WQXI, which is considered Dial's inspiration for the show. Hugh Wilson was an Atlanta ad man then, before going on to create WKRP in Cincinnati.[6] Coincidentally, Harper had previously worked at Cincinnati AM Top 40 powerhouse WSAI in 1964, before moving to 11 other stations, including 7 in Atlanta.[6] In 1997, Bobby Harper told WSB's Condace Pressley, "He went on record as pointing out which ones, including myself, that he based the characters on. It [that recognition] was a nice little thing. You know? That was nice. I appreciated that." [6]

Bailey Quarters was based on Hugh Wilson's wife, who was also extremely shy, very intelligent and remarkably beautiful.[citation needed]

The "Real" WKRP stations

The first assignment of the callsign was in September 1979,[10] to a new, daytime only, AM station in Dallas, Georgia, in the metro Atlanta area. At first, the FCC denied the call letters to the new station, stating that MTM had a 'hold' on the callsign. When the station's lawyer pointed out to the FCC, "MTM is neither a licensee, nor a permittee. Therefore, MTM has no legal basis to reserve the WKRP callsign", they allowed the assignment. In August 1989, the station switched to its current calls, WDPC.

The call letters WKRP (supposedly a pun on the word "crap") were assigned to a low-power TV station in Washington, D.C. until 2005; it is now WDDN-LP. Until 2010, they were assigned to a low-power TV station, WKRP-LP (now WRTN-LP) in Alexandria, Tennessee; while WRTN still uses WKRP as a branding, they were later reassigned to a low-powered station in Key West, Florida, WKRP-LP (now WKWT-LP).[11][12] The call letters are not currently assigned to any AM or FM radio station, and any potential user would have to obtain permission from the TV station owners and the FCC. These call letters were most recently assigned to an AM station in North Vernon, Indiana, about 60 miles from Cincinnati, but the call sign was changed to WNVI in 1997 (the station's calls are now WJCP). Another television station, WLPX-TV in Charleston, West Virginia, held the "WKRP" calls from 1988 to 1998, when the call letters were changed to its present calls. However, the calls were never used on-air—the station did not sign on until August 31, 1998, after the calls were changed.

Though WKRP was never identified by frequency in the original series (although it was on the AM dial), it was identified as being at AM 1530 in the 1991 series remake (which, in reality, was the original and current frequency for Cincinnati-based WCKY). Coincidentally, Cincinnati boasts the similarly named WKRC radio and WKRC-TV, which were co-owned entities (under the Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting and its successor companies, and eventually Clear Channel) until the early years of the 21st century. At the time of the original series' airing, the CBS-TV affiliate in Cincinnati was WCPO-TV.

WKRP's signal power was displayed in a radius on a framed picture of the Midwest in the front lobby. The poster on the pilot episode stated that WKRP had a 50,000 watt signal, but all later episodes downgraded the station's power to 5,000 watts (which is the operating power for WKRC-AM).

In the 1980s, a radio station in Salt Lake City, KRPN (now KMRI) identified itself on-air as "WKRP in Salt Lake City, The Oldies Network". For legal purposes, the calls were actually read as "W KRPN Salt Lake City", with everything after the "W" complying with FCC standards for station identification.

The "Real" Cincinnati Connection

WEBN, a Cincinnati radio station, originally had a classical and jazz format but eventually changed format to album-oriented rock, a format which continues to this day. In real life, the transition to rock-and-roll was gradual, unlike the fictional WKRP where the rapid change was played up for comedic effect in the opening two episodes.[13]

Cincinnati also has a very popular rock/pop station called WKRQ (aka Q102) which was on the air during the show - and was also co-owned with WKRC-AM/TV at the time. This station is also referenced (among many now defunct Cincinnati stations) in the episode "The Airplane" as a direct competitor to the fictional WKRP.

The transmission tower seen at the beginning of WKRP in Cincinnati actually belonged to Cincinnati's NBC affiliate, WLWT.[14] The tower has since been dismantled.

The building shown as the home of WKRP and referred to as the Osgood R. Flimm Building was the Cincinnati Enquirer Building at 617 Vine St. in downtown Cincinnati.[15] The real Cincinnati Enquirer relocated its offices to 312 Elm St. in 1992.

Just before WKRP in Cincinnati left the air, a small AM station in the Cincinnati market flipped from a country format to a rock format. In 1981, 500 watt daytime station WCLU AM 1320 based in Covington, Kentucky, became "Cincinnati's AM Rock." By 1983 it had evolved into a straight Top 40 station and remained so until April 1987. The on-air studio was very similar to that shown on "WKRP", with its rotary pot console and turntables covered in green felt. This station eventually changed call letters to WCVG and became the nation's first "All Elvis" station in 1988. Still WCVG today, it is now one of Cincinnati's two AM gospel stations.

In November 2008, Cincinnati low-power television station WBQC-CA changed its branding to "WKRP-TV,"[16] and the station's owner, Block Broadcasting, has registered "WKRP" and "WKRP Cincinnati" as trademarks.[17][18] It is of no relation to the Alexandria, Tennessee, station.

Also the call letters of WKRP's main competing station in the show, WPIG, are now those for a country station based in Olean, New York.


Musical themes

WKRP had two musical themes, one opening and the other closing the show. The opening theme, called "WKRP In Cincinnati Main Theme", was composed by Tom Wells, with lyrics by series creator Hugh Wilson, and performed by Steve Carlisle.[19][20][21] An urban legend had circulated at the time that Richard Sanders (who had comparable vocal characteristics to Carlisle) had actually recorded the song. Wilson stated in the commentary for the first season's DVD set that this was simply not true.

A full-length version of the original theme song was released in 1979 on a 45 rpm vinyl single on the MCA Records label. It peaked at 65 on the Pop Singles chart in 1981 and at 29 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1982. The lyrics refer to the life of character Andy Travis.

The closing theme, "WKRP In Cincinnati End Credits", was a hard rock number composed and performed by Jim Ellis, an Atlanta musician who recorded some of the incidental music for the show. According to people who attended the recording sessions, Ellis didn't yet have lyrics for the closing theme, so he sang nonsense words to give an idea of how it would sound. Wilson decided to use the words anyway, since he felt that it would be funny to use lyrics that were deliberate gibberish, as a satire on the incomprehensibility of many rock songs.[22] Also, because CBS always had an announcer talking over the closing credits, Wilson knew that no one would actually hear the closing theme lyrics anyway. In one pop-cultural nod to the closing theme, a character performs the song in the film Ready to Rumble. The closing theme is also played at the end of the syndicated morning radio show The John Boy and Billy Big Show.

Music licensing

The show was one of the earliest to extensively use contemporary music by big groups and artists of the time such as The Who, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley.

The show's use of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" was widely credited with helping the song become a major U.S. hit, and the band's record label Chrysalis Records presented the producers with a gold record award for the album Parallel Lines, on which the song appeared. This gold record can be seen hanging on the wall in the "bullpen" where Les, Herb, and Bailey worked in many of the episodes in the second, third, and fourth seasons.

The songs were often tied into the plot of the episode, and some pieces of music were even used as running gags. For example, the doorbell to Jennifer's penthouse apartment played "Fly Me to the Moon" (which was later replaced by "Beautiful Dreamer", for reasons explained below).

Music licensing deals cut at the time of production were for a limited amount of time (approximately ten years). In addition, the show was videotaped rather than filmed because it was cheaper to get the rights to rock songs for a taped show.[citation needed] Once the licenses expired, later syndicated versions of the show did not feature the music as first broadcast, but rather generic "sound-alikes" by studio musicians to avoid paying additional royalties. In some cases (when the music was playing in the background of a dialogue scene), some of the characters' lines had to be redubbed by sound-alike actors. This was evident in all prints of the show issued since the early 1990s, which included its late-1990s run on Nick at Nite.

As a result, production on a WKRP DVD was delayed for years because of the expense of procuring music licenses. It was feared that fans would reject edited versions. However, as was done with many other television series, the DVD release of WKRP in Cincinnati - Season One has much of the music replaced by generic substitutes. In addition, some scenes have been cut or truncated and voice-overs used to avoid using unlicensed musical content.[23] Other scenes that were originally edited for television and thus never before seen were added back into the episodes and give viewers the backstory which further explained a later scene that appeared in the episode. According to TV Guide magazine, creator Hugh Wilson said he was "satisfied" with the final product for DVD release.

A 2009 syndication package of the show, however, aired as part of "Outta Sight Retro Nights", a flashback TV block aired Sunday nights on the national WGN America cable TV service with promos voiced by Casey Kasem, appears to have all of the original music intact according to published references about the original release.[24]

Music changes for late 1990s syndicated airings and DVD releases

Pilot – When the new format debuts, the first song Johnny played was Ted Nugent's "Queen of the Forest", which was replaced by generic rock music (however, when this scene was featured in the subsequent episodes Mama's Review and The Creation of Venus, the original song remained intact).

Les On a Ledge – Johnny's opening song was replaced, and the generic music used for Les's intro was replaced by different generic music.

Hold Up – All songs were replaced, and several lines by Andy, Herb, and "Bobby Boogie" were re-dubbed.

Turkeys Away – When Mr. Carlson sneaks up on Johnny in the booth, the music playing in the original broadcast was Pink Floyd's "Dogs" from their Animals LP (the album cover shown in the scene); this was replaced by generic music.[25] Additionally, the songs played immediately before and after the classic "turkey drop" scene ("Fun Time" by Joe Cocker, and as an in-joke, "It Came Out of the Sky" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, respectively) were also replaced.

Goodbye, Johnny – All songs were replaced, as was one line by Les ("No time for pleasantries, Johnny, we've got an emergency here!").

Johnny Comes Back – Both songs played by Doug Winner were replaced, as were two songs played by Johnny.

The Contest Nobody Could Win – Several songs were replaced, although Johnny's intros of them remained intact. Additionally, the episode closed with the opening seconds of "Lotta Love" by Nicolette Larsen, which was replaced by a portion of the WKRP closing theme.

A Date With Jennifer – In one of the series' best musical bits, when Les was dressing in the bullpen for his date with Jennifer that evening, Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" played on the station's speaker monitor (with Les moving to the music); this was replaced by a generic sound-alike.

Never Leave Me, Lucille – The first few seconds of the episode were cut to remove Les singing "Heartbreak Hotel", and "Everybody Rock 'n Roll the Place" by Eddie Money was replaced.

Young Master Carlson – The theme from Patton was originally used as a running gag during the episode; it is replaced by a generic trumpet fanfare (although a faint echo of the Patton theme can still be heard afterwards).

A Commercial Break – A couple of songs are replaced, which also necessitated the dubbing of ongoing dialogue by Johnny and Bailey. Also, just before the commercial plays for the first time, Johnny comes out of "Young Blood" by the Coasters; this was replaced by generic music, and Johnny's outro line was changed from "That was the Coasters in a classic vein, with 'Young Blood'" to "That was the Youngbloods in a classic vein, with 'Coasters'".

Carlson for President – The theme from Star Wars was originally used for Mr. Carlson's campaign commercial; it was replaced, along with the theme music for the televised debate (which necessitated the dubbing of some of the debate moderator's lines).

For Love or Money, Part 1 – The episode originally opened with Robert Palmer's "Bad Case of Loving You"; it was replaced by a sound-alike, and the first lines by Johnny and Bailey are re-dubbed.

Put Up or Shut Up – As Herb exits the lobby in the opening teaser, he sings a bit of "Our Day Will Come"; this was replaced, and his line to Bailey was re-dubbed (but because said line was misheard, the original "Hi, Bailey" was inadvertently changed to "Hi, babe"!).

Baby, If You've Ever Wondered – During the scene when Andy pushes the contents of his desk over, "Goodbye Stranger" by Supertramp was originally played; it was replaced by generic music, and one line by Bailey ("Nothing") had to be dubbed as a result.

Patter of Little Feet – The episode originally closed with "Thank Heaven for Little Girls", but this was later replaced with "We've Only Just Begun" by the Carpenters.

Mike Fright – The first few seconds of the episode were cut, in order to remove the tail end of "Who Listens to the Radio" by the Sports and Johnny's subsequent outro. Also, Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody" was originally heard in the scene where Johnny first hears about people dumping their garbage; this was replaced, and the generic music heard during the commercials was replaced by different generic music.

Jennifer's Home for Christmas – The episode originally opened with the tail end of Brenda Lee's version of "Jingle Bell Rock"; it was replaced by a piano rendition of "Jingle Bells".

Sparky – "Survival" by Bob Marley was originally played just before Sparky Anderson's show; it was replaced, and Venus's outro was changed from "Yes, Brother Marley, we are the survivors" to "Yes, that was Brother Marlon and the Surf Riders".

The Americanization of Ivan – "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John was replaced, and whenever Ivan quoted a line from the song, it was changed (for example, "Hold me closer, tiny dancer" became "Hold my order, terrible dresser").

The Doctor's Daughter – Although most of this episode's music remained intact, the tail end of Bill Haley & His Comets' classic "Rock Around the Clock" was replaced during the closing tag.

In Concert – The last few seconds of "The Wait" by the Pretenders originally opened the show; this was cut, and the subsequent song played by Johnny was replaced.

Real Families – The generic music used as the titular fictional series' theme song was replaced, which also required the announcer's lines to be re-dubbed (unfortunately, as the original announcer was the legendary Johnny Olson, best known for his game show work).

Hotel Oceanview – When Herb enters the lobby at the beginning, he originally sang the theme from Love, American Style; this was replaced. Also, rather than being replaced, "Sailing" by Christopher Cross was simply removed from the closing tag (as a result, the edited version shows Jennifer turning down the lobby speaker, even though no music is playing).

Bah Humbug – A vocal version of "Sleigh Ride" originally played over the closing credits; it was replaced by an instrumental version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" (which is in the public domain).

Baby It's Cold Inside – The song heard before Mama Carlson orders Johnny to play something by Gershwin was replaced, and their dialogue during that scene was also overdubbed, as was Herb's.

The Painting – During the scene in Andy's office, "Breezin'" by George Benson was originally heard; two re-dubbed versions exist: one where it was replaced by a generic instrumental piece, and one which removed the music entirely.

Frog Story – "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks was replaced, and Johnny's intro is changed to "These are the Kings, from way back in '64."

Dr. Fever and Mr. Tide (Part 2) – The beginning of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" was originally heard during the opening scene; it was replaced by generic music (however, the new music remains at the same volume even after Jennifer turns down the speaker, and nearly drowns out her subsequent conversation with Andy). Additionally, "Ready Teddy" by Little Richard was replaced with a generic, 50s-sounding piano piece.

I Am Woman – When Venus announces "All you dudes who dig deco, start dialing", the music heard in the background was replaced, and his annnouncement was re-dubbed as a result.

Secrets of Dayton Heights – The songs played on the radio in Harvey's barbershop were replaced, and Harvey was dubbed over when he says "hi" to Les.

Nothing to Fear But... – The episode originally opened with the tail end of "Rock Me Baby" by Otis Redding (which an ill Johnny wrongly identifies as "Dominique-inique" by The Singing Nun); this was replaced by generic music.

Clean Up Radio Everywhere – Mr. Carlson's video baseball game originally played a beeping rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", which was later replaced.

Three Days of the Condo – The commercial for "Gone With the Wind Estates" originally used the famous theme song from the 1939 film of the same name; it was replaced, though it remained intact when Venus and Johnny sang it during the closing tag.

Pills – During the opening teaser, the songs played by the "guy on tape from Los Angeles" were replaced, and Johnny and Bailey's dialogue was re-dubbed.

Fire – Johnny briefly sang a line to the tune of "Over the Rainbow", which was later replaced by a different tune.

To Err is Human – After the first break, "Do You Believe In Love" by Huey Lewis and the News was originally played; it was replaced by generic music, although Johnny's outro remained intact.

DVD releases

DVD Season Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Comments
Season 1 22 April 24, 2007 "Do My Eyes Say Yes?" featurette, "A 'Fish Story' Story" featurette, two commentary tracks featuring creator Hugh Wilson and cast members Loni Anderson and Frank Bonner
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4


  1. ^ a b c Kassel, Michael B., ''America's Favorite Radio Station: WKRP in Cincinnati'' Popular Press (1993) ISBN 0879725842, 9780879725846. Books.google.com. 2003-06-26. http://books.google.com/books?id=x-esBmJWj3sC&vq=Bailey&dq=%22bailey+quarters%22&source=gbs_navlinks_s. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  2. ^ "Brown To Receive BCFM's Lifetime Achievement Award". http://www.radioink.com/HeadlineEntry.asp?hid=133094&pt=archive. 
  3. ^ "Radio's Call To Arms". http://www.allbusiness.com/services/motion-pictures/4486620-1.html. 
  4. ^ "Radio honors real-life WKRP manager". Atlanta Journal Constitution. 1996-11-14. http://www.ajc.com/. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  5. ^ Evanier, Mark (2006-01-13). "WKRP in Cincinnati". Old TV Tickets. http://www.oldtvtickets.com/archives1/2006/01/wkrp_in_cincinn.html. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Radio Broadcasting History: Radio People by Name (H)". 440 International, Inc.. 2008. pp. entry for Skinny Bobby Harper. http://www.440int.com/namesh.html. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  7. ^ Michael B. Kassel, America's Favorite Radio Station: WKRP in Cincinnati (Popular Press, 1993):6-7.
  8. ^ "Deaths", Billboard (6 December 1997):64.
  9. ^ "Deaths", Billboard (6 December 1997):64; Michael Learmonth, "Kingdom KOME: Less than two weeks remain until the letters fade away", Metro (June 4–10, 1998), http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.04.98/cover/radio2-9822.html; Don Barrett, "Where Are They Now? Los Angeles Radio People, H", http://www.laradio.com/whereh.htm
  10. ^ "FCC Call Sign History for WDPC". FCC records. http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/call_hist.pl?Facility_id=73871&Callsign=WDPC. 
  11. ^ "Call Sign - Query". FCC Media Desk. http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/callsign/prod/query.hts?Call_Sign=WKRP. 
  12. ^ "(Alexandria, Tennessee) website". Wkrp-Tv. http://www.wkrptv.com/. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  13. ^ "WEBN". Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WEBN#Launch_of_WEBN. 
  14. ^ Fybush, Scott (2003-01-30). "Looking for "WKRP": Cincinnati, Part II". NorthEast Radio Watch. http://www.fybush.com/site-030130.html. 
  15. ^ [1] WKRP's back on the air, Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday, July 04, 1999 Accessed 2011-06-25.
  16. ^ "Station takes call letters of TV show". Associated Press. November 29, 2008. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081129/ap_en_tv/odd_wkrp_in_cincinnati_2. 
  17. ^ "WKRP-TV website". Wkrp.tv. http://www.wkrp.tv/. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  18. ^ "Trademark Electronic Search System". United States Patent and Trademark Office. http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=gi5ccq.2.2. Retrieved November 30, 2008. 
  19. ^ Internet Movie Database (IMDB). "WKRP in Cincinnati Trivia". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077097/trivia?tr0792157. Retrieved February 15, 2011. 
  20. ^ Song Facts. "WKRP in Cincinnati theme by Steve Carlisle". http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=21830. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  21. ^ "About WKRP". http://archer2000.tripod.com/wkrp/wkrp5.html. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  22. ^ "Television". Jim Ellis Music. http://www.jimellismusic.com/Jim-Ellis-TV.html. 
  23. ^ Lacey, Gord (2007-03-31). "WKRP in Cincinnati DVD news: List of 'WKRP' music changes". TVShowsOnDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/newsitem.cfm?NewsID=7103. 
  24. ^ "Something Old, Nothing New: WKRP DVD Not OK". Zvbxrpl.blogspot.com. 2007-03-30. http://zvbxrpl.blogspot.com/2007/03/wkrp-dvd-not-ok.html. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  25. ^ The DVD commentary track for this episode erroneously states that the missing song is "Pigs on the Wing".

External links

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