WKRP in Cincinnati: Season 3, Episode 22

Clean Up Radio Everywhere (12 Apr. 1981)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
9.0
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A preacher with Clean Up Radio Everywhere wants WKRP to stop playing specific songs due to the lyrics. Mr. Carlson thinks the station should cooperate, while the rest say the songs are classics and shouldn't be subjected to censorship.

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Cast

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Dr. Bob Halyers
Ralph Manza ...
Harvey Green
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Storyline

A preacher with Clean Up Radio Everywhere wants WKRP to stop playing specific songs due to the lyrics. Mr. Carlson thinks the station should cooperate, while the rest say the songs are classics and shouldn't be subjected to censorship.

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Comedy

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12 April 1981 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Daniels was originally cast as Dr. Bob Halyers. Richard Paul replaced him because Paul looked a lot like Jerry Falwell, on whom Halyers was based. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Bob Halyers: [Mr. Carlson is asking whether a certain song is suitable or not for airplay] "Imagine there's no heaven / It's easy if you try / No hell below us / Above us only sky... Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too... Imagine no possessions... Imagine all the people sharing all the world." That sounds like Communism to me. If there's no heaven, no religion and I assume no God.
Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: There's not an obscene word in here.
Dr. Bob Halyers: Not the way I see it.
Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson: Go on your list?
Dr. Bob Halyers: Arthur, this is typical of the kind of ...
[...]
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Clean Up Radio Everywhere is a pretty funny episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati" that also makes you think
26 December 2008 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

This third season finale episode, coming as it did when Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority seemed to have some momentum in publicity if not in popularity, has Mr. Carlson in a meeting with the head of CURB-Clean Up Radio Broadcasting. The person who played CURB's head would eventually play Falwell on The People vs. Larry Flynt. Station Manager Carlson is in initial agreement of CURB's list of songs that shouldn't by played in his rock station but Johnny Fever especially objects citing select audience members that object to the songs as those who "listen slowly to the songs in church when suddenly, they hear a naughty word!" And when Venus Flytrap wonders why the same isn't cited for sex on television, Fever also chimes in that they're "going after the guppies before going after the whale". When Carlson again confronts the CURB head, he cites the lyrics to John Lennon's song "Imagine" which has lines like "Imagine there's no heaven" or "And no religion too". The CURB head objects to those words but Carlson doesn't because it's not content that infers certain adult situations but ideas that suggest point-of-view of the songwriter/singer. It's with this stance that Arthur Carlson decides to fight CURB despite many advertisers pulling out their spots from WKRP...This was a "special episode" that I'm sure some comedy fans probably think has no place in a show format that is meant purely to entertain. But since this is after all a show about a rock 'n' roll station whose content is the kind many of those listeners enjoy, this seems for once the kind of issue that calls for addressing to those viewers. While the laughs aren't plentiful, they are still there not only with what I cited with Dr. Fever but also with newsman Les Nessman who cites as his heroes Edward R. Murrow-who would be against censorship of any kind-and General George Patton-who would kick the "liberal pinheads into the Ohio River!" As Les himself notes, "As you can see...I'm a confused man!" With all that said, I'd recommend the "Clean Up Radio Everywhere" episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati" to anyone wondering if things have gotten better or worse on matters of both censorship or the objectionable material being freely aired on both radio and commercial television today. I'm sure there will always be debates on both for a long time...


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