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WKRP in Cincinnati (TV Series 1978–1982) Poster

(1978–1982)

Trivia

The character of Herb Tarlek was known for wearing very tacky suits. In one episode, when Herb wears a particularly outrageous suit, Venus Flytrap remarks, "Somewhere out there there's a Volkswagen with no seats." One of Herb's suits was actually made from the seat covers of an old Volkswagen.
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While the series prided itself in both writing and acting with hit songs, keeping the rights to play the songs would've cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the 1990s reissues for syndication, nearly all of the music played by the DJs was replaced with generic studio music. Original generic music was replaced to avoid any possibility of later lawsuits. Because the actors often spoke over the music, voice impersonators were hired to emulate the actors in those scenes. In some cases, lines had to be revised so jokes about the song that just played were removed, and changed to often-meaningless new titles. In 2014, an agreement was reached for the rights to restore most of the real-life songs from the original broadcasts for forthcoming DVD releases.
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The ending theme song was done by a group of studio musicians in Atlanta, GA. The lyrics are unintelligible because it was recorded solely to help the musicians and the show's producers get a feel for the song and the lyric melody. The producers liked it as is, so it was never changed.
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Les wears a bandage on some part of his body in almost every episode. Eventually, he reveals that he has a very large dog at home. In real life, Richard Sanders suffered an injury prior to taping the pilot episode, had to wear a bandage on the air, then decided to make it Les' trademark.
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Lyrics for the opening theme: "Baby, if you've ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me, I'm living on the air in Cincinnati. Cincinnati, WKRP. Got kind of tired of packin' and unpackin', town to town up and down the dial. Maybe you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while. I'm at WKRP in Cincinnati."
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Hugh Wilson did the warm-up during show tapings. During one warm-up, Wilson said he chose the call letters "WKRP" because they weren't being used by an actual station. He wanted to use "WSOS" or "WHLP," but they were taken. During the show's run, a small AM radio station in Georgia applied to the FCC for the call letters WKRP. The show's producers considered legal action, but the FCC said that their trademark rights did not prevent a legitimate radio station from using the call letters, which were granted to the applicant. In March 2014, a non-profit organization was granted the call sign 'WKRP' for a new FM radio station in Raleigh, North Carolina. The station is expected to go on the air in 2015 at 101.9 FM.
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WKRP was partially inspired by Harry Chapin's song "WOLD", about a wandering FM DJ looking to finally settle down.
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The show was videotaped instead of filmed because the rights to rock songs were cheaper for a taped show than for a filmed show.
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In some scenes, bulletin boards or wall spaces are plastered with bumper stickers for radio stations across the USA. They were sent by real-life radio DJs who were avid fans of the show.
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Contrary to urban myth, Steve Carlisle sings the show's opening theme, not Richard Sanders.
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Hugh Wilson, a huge fan of The Beatles, wanted to include as many of their songs in the show as possible. However, even with an ASCAP licensing discount, The Beatles were the most expensive artist to license a song from. As a result, only three Beatles songs were used in the entire show: "I'm Down" (WKRP in Cincinnati: Preacher (1979), "Here Comes The Sun" (WKRP in Cincinnati: Out to Lunch (1981)), and "Come Together" (WKRP in Cincinnati: Jennifer and Johnny's Charity (1982)). The second most expensive artist to license a song from was The Rolling Stones.
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In close-ups, the names Johnny Fever used on air are all on the side of his coffee cup: Johnny Duke, Johnny Style, Johnny Cool, Johnny Sunshine, and Johnny Fever. In the pilot, the understaffed station had Johnny doing the morning and afternoon shows. Johnny had to look at his coffee mug to see which name he was supposed to use on-air.
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The character of Bailey Quarters was based on Hugh Wilson's wife. Wilson wrote the character to be shy and soft-spoken, but very articulate when she did speak, because his wife was the same way.
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The pilot was filmed at CBS Television City in Los Angeles. The rest of the episodes were taped at CBS Studio City, on the same stage as Mary Tyler Moore (1970). Only shots for the opening and closing credits and cutaways for a few episodes were recorded in Cincinnati.
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Series writer Bill Dial made several appearances as the station's engineer, Bucky Dornster.
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Sylvia Sidney played "Mama" Carlson in the pilot. Carol Bruce took over the role for the rest of the series run. Executive producer/creator Hugh Wilson said Sidney was not pleasant to work with, did not get along with the cast or producers, and thought the show itself was ridiculous.
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David Cassidy turned down the role of Johnny "Dr. Johnny Fever" Caravella.
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In 1980 Hanna-Barbera planned to collaborate with Hugh Wilson to make an animated series of WKRP, with all eight characters as dogs. The series never got off the ground.
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The final first-run episode to air on CBS was #7 in the weekly Nielsen ratings for all series, specials, and sports events. Prior to the airing, the series had already been canceled.
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The full name of the building where WKRP is located is the Osgood R. Flimm Building. The name is mentioned in (WKRP in Cincinnati: Les on a Ledge (1978) because authorities need to know where to go to save Les.
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Herb Tarlek had a University of Arkansas Razorbacks coffee mug on his desk. Frank Bonner was born and raised in Arkansas.
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In real life, Gordon Jump had worked as a disc jockey for a radio station in Dayton, Ohio.
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The characters of Arthur Carlson and Dr. Johnny Fever were based on real people in the radio industry.
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Venus Flytrap's real name was Gordon Simms. He was a school teacher before he became a DJ.
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In the pilot, the wattage stated on the lobby wall was 50,000. In subsequent episodes it was reduced to 5,000 watts.
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Real-life Cincinnati radio station WKRC 550 AM was active during the sitcom's run, and remains active as of October 2014.
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Johnny Fever was fired from a previous job because he said the word booger on the air. When Andy changed the station's format in the middle of Johnny's show, he showed his joy by uttering the previously banned word.
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William Woodson is uncredited as the announcer for the tag scenes and the intros and outros for Les' newscasts.
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Rumors about references to "Mayor Springer" are an urban legend. Jerry Springer was mayor of Cincinnati at the time, but he was never mentioned by name on the show.
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After John Lennon's assassination in December 1980, a photo of Lennon was displayed in the background prominently, as a memorial tribute.
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The series featured numerous references to Cincinnati's real-life pro sports teams. The satin WKRP staff jackets, usually worn by Andy and Venus, were modified Cincinnati Reds warm-up jackets. A placard with the logo for the Cincinnati Stingers, of the defunct World Hockey Association, often appeared in the background.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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