WKRP in Cincinnati: Season 4, Episode 22

Up and Down the Dial (21 Apr. 1982)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
8.1
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Mama Carlson announces plans to change WKRP's format.

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Title: Up and Down the Dial (21 Apr 1982)

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Charles Von Sanker
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Storyline

The ratings are out...and WKRP is now the Number 6 station in an 18-station market. Despite the fact that WKRP has had the highest ratings in its history, Carlson's mother announces that she plans to change the station's format to all-news, citing that the momentum of FM will soon render music on AM obsolete, per the advice of a programming consultant. However, her true intentions are later revealed...WKRP is supposed to be the latter portion of the profit-and-loss statement for Carlson Industries, and it needs to be put back there. Written by radiohawk@hotmail.com

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Comedy

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21 April 1982 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The title is from the opening line of the theme song for WKRP in Cincinnati. See more »

Quotes

Mama Carlson: Dr. Fever, in every business, there are not pluses and minuses, but pluses and pluses... but only if the minuses are played correctly.
[Fever looks at Mama Carlson, bewildered]
Mama Carlson: You don't understand, and I don't expect you to...
Johnny 'Dr. Fever' Caravella: [interrupting] No. No, I understand. This is so deeply warped that even I can make sense of it. KRP is not supposed to make money! We're set up to lose! That's our job.
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The Wave Of The Future
28 September 2012 | by (Camden, NJ (The Forbidden Zone)) – See all my reviews

For the 2nd time in a season, WKRP's ratings are up-- from #10 to #6. But as everyone wants to celebrate, Andy discovers that Lillian Carlson has decided that, on the advice of a "very expensive" consulting firm, she's going to change the format to all-news. This, despite the fact that the station will LOSE MONEY for the first 18 months, minimum. Total insanity... except to Johnny Fever, who, after going to confront Mother Carlson in person (to her extreme annoyance) finds out that the station, in her corporate scheme of things, is SUPPOSED to lose money. "You've been telling your son you want him to succeed. How do you think he'd feel if he knew the truth?" This shocking revelation came at the end of 4 entire seasons of the show (90 episodes), and in an utterly twisted way, makes sense of so much of Lillian's behavior from the very beginning. It's also a reflection of so much of what's wrong with American business in general, and has been at least since the time the show was first-run, and has only gotten worse and worse ever since.

WKRP, in real life, was a victim of the Reagan Administration. From the moment the Republicans got in in 1980, the mood of the country swung away from humanistic concerns and toward "big business" and making money at all costs and to the total exclusion of all other concerns. They used to call the people who thought and acted that way "Yuppies", perhaps in an attempt to make light of what was, in fact, a very real, serious, DANGEROUS problem.

In the early 80's, it became "unpopular" for TV sitcoms to have intelligent or "controversial" writing. CBS deliberately moved the station around the schedule until ratings fell low enough so they'd have an EXCUSE to cancel it. Right after, it was in the top 10 for the rest of the season. But they weren't gonna change their minds. They wanted it GONE, and they got it gone.

These days, corporations seem to own everything, fewer and fewer businesses are privately-owned, which means there is virtually no real, direct, human connection anymore between those in charge and products and services being generated. Lawyers and accountants, instead of being necessary accessories, are the ones running the show. There seems to be no room for individual initiative or accomplishment. "The bottom line" has become the all-encompassing motivation of those increasingly inhuman, soul-less "people" who make decisions for everyone else, whose only goal in life is to make more money than they can possibly use, and only for themselves.

"I'm sure you didn't mean to hurt anyone. I'm sure the welfare of your employees was the last thing on your mind." Johnny Fever was so right.

Growing up in the 60's, there was a lot wrong with the world, but I always had a feeling there was hope for the future of mankind. These days I really wonder. If things don't turn around soon, there may not be a world left saving.

I know, from watching the revival, that at some point, Andy did leave the station, and the format did change, but then changed back. In this episode, Johnny Fever was shown to be "#1 all the way", indicating that Lillian's EARLIER "consultant" was totally WRONG when he said that Fever was not being used properly. Of course, HE wanted to sell his "programming service"-- in which DJ's who program their own music would be a thing of the past. As they are NOW. We NEED more individual initiative in the world. We need more people like Johnny Fever, and more radio stations (and businesses across the board in every field imaginable) like WKRP IN CINCINATTI. If there were more Arthur Carlsons running things, the world would be a much nicer place.


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Complete series (finally) coming from Shout albert_m2
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Johnny Fever smoke pot?? Blacksheepone
the studio.. hasn't anyone noticed it's never the same? AlanFirestone
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