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WKRP in Cincinnati
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WKRP in Cincinnati

WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982) was an American situation comedy that featured the misadventures of the staff of a struggling radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. It premiered September 18, 1978 on CBS and featured Gary Sandy, Howard Hesseman, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson, Tim Reid, Jan Smithers, Richard Sanders, and Frank Bonner. The series won a Humanitas Prize and received three Emmy Award nominations during the early 1980s. The humor came more from known predilections and idiosyncracies of each character, rather than from outlandish plots and racy situations.

Warning: Plot details follow.

Some particular character quirks of the show's characters included:

Even though WKRP switched to the rock and roll format, its ratings, much to Andy's frustration, showed little in the fictional Cincinnati market it inhabited. Part of the reason it was that Andy was unwilling to fire the existing personnel when he took over. This included the station's chief news reporter Les Nessman who approached his job with absurd seriousness, despite the fact he's almost completely incompetant. Les was envious/dismissive/competitive (depending on the moment) with the fictional radio station competitor WPIG (and forever working to obtain the fictional Cincinnati radio news industry trophy "the Silver Sow Award", though he had already won it in previous years).

The series began when Andy Travis (Gary Sandy) comes to the station as the new programming director hired to attempt to improve the dismal ratings of the golden oldies station run by Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump), a weak-willed son whose main qualification to be station manager is that his tycoon mother is the owner. Travis changes the programming format to rock music with the gleeful cooperation of the disgraced DJ, Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman). Carlson's mother confronts Travis about this change and only relents when her son gets the courage to defend the decision.

The best-known episode was the first season's "Turkeys Away"; it was named by TV Guide as one of the greatest episodes in TV history. It was centered around a disastrous Thanksgiving promotion, which included dropping live turkeys out of a helicopter. The station's goofy news reporter, Les Nessman (Richard Sanders), breathlessly described the fiasco in the same manner as Herbert Morrison when he witnessed the Hindenburg disaster. Afterwards, Carlson explained, "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

Jump, Sanders and Bonner reprised their supporting roles in a spinoff, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, which ran from 1991 to 1993.

There is a real-life radio station WKRC in Cincinnati, Ohio. Except for almost identical call letters, there is no known connection between the two entities.

WKRP theme song lyrics

If you ever wonder
Wonder whatever became of me
I'm living on the air in Cincinnati
Cincinnati, WKRP.

Got tired of the packing and unpacking
Town to town, up and down the dial
Baby you and me were never meant to be
So maybe think of me once in a while.
I'm at WKRP in Cincinnati.

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