WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–1982)
5 user

In Concert 

The staff find themselves consumed with guilt for promoting a Who concert at Riverfront Coliseum when its general admission policy causes a terrible tragedy.


Linda Day


Hugh Wilson (created by), Steven Kampmann


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Episode complete credited cast:
Gary Sandy ... Andy Travis
Gordon Jump ... Arthur Carlson
Loni Anderson ... Jennifer Marlowe
Richard Sanders ... Les Nessman
Tim Reid ... Venus Flytrap
Frank Bonner ... Herb Tarlek
Jan Smithers ... Bailey Quarters
Howard Hesseman ... Dr. Johnny Fever


For publicity, the station has been having contest giveaways for free tickets to The Who's upcoming Cincinnati concert at Riverfront Coliseum. There is general encouragement to arrive at the venue early to get good seats as the concert, with the exception of a few reserved seats, is general admission aka festival seating. Most of those at the station are going to the concert, including Johnny, who is having problems trying to find not even a date but someone, anyone, with who to go, and a reluctant Mr. Carlson - his first ever rock concert - convinced by Carmen to take little Arthur. In his reluctance to go, Mr. Carlson is making himself sick in the process. The morning after the concert, those at the station are having a crisis of conscience upon learning that eleven kids were killed at the venue prior to the concert, the issue having been a stampede to enter the venue to get good seats. At the time, most at the concert, including the WKRP staff and the band, were unaware of the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

11 February 1980 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MTM Enterprises See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Originally the title card at the end which noted that Cincinnati had banned general-admission seating also noted that no other cities had done so. The CBS legal department objected that other cities would demand "equal time" and the reference was cut. See more »


The seemingly ever-lonely Les Nessman's wedding ring is obvious in the scene where he hugs Bailey. See more »


Dr. Johnny Fever: [philosophically to Les as Bailey has just turned Johnny down for a date] I don't know, Les. What do women want?
Les Nessman: [after a long pause being confused by the question] Tupperware!
See more »

Alternate Versions

In some versions, "The Wait" by the Pretenders has either been shortened or eliminated right before Johnny announces it. "Sympathy for the Devil", which also plays in the teaser, has been replaced in all versions since the 80's syndication package with generic music. Bailey's dialogue remains intact (and you can still hear some of Mick Jagger's voice of hers). The Bill Evans song which Venus plays at the end is still there. See more »


References The Lone Ranger (1949) See more »


The Wait
Written by Chrissie Hynde and Peter Farndon
Performed by The Pretenders
[Hohnny plays the song in the episode's opening scene]
See more »

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User Reviews

Tragic event, sensitively handled

I must strongly disagree with the other reviewers. On the contrary, I think this is one of the BEST episodes WKRP did. Here, WKRP chose, for one episode, to step out of its comfort zone to deal, very sensitively, with a real-life tragedy.

Should they have left the whole thing alone? I don't see how that's possible. Considering this tragedy occurred in the city where the show is set, I don't see how they could have NOT dealt with it.

The structure of the episode is designed to contrast the excitement before the concert with the stunned soul-searching afterwards. If the transition from one to the other is a little abrupt, well, this is only a half-hour show, after all. I don't think there was meant to be any real dramatic tension in the episode-just an examination of how different people respond to a terrible event.

I agree that "lost their lives" was a sensitive, appropriate euphemism for "died". No problem there.

One reviewer states that his "foggy memory" of the episode is not the issue. I would (very respectfully) beg to differ. At one point, he says the episode does not mention that the victims were killed in a crowd stampede. I submit, from when the staff is filling Mr. Carlson in on what happened: ANDY: There was some reserved seating... VENUS: ...but mostly general admission-what they call, "festival seating". JOHNNY: It was you'd call your basic STAMPEDE (my emphasis).

The episode makes no bones about holding the policy of general admission, or festival seating, at fault for the incident. It ends on a hopeful note, with the dialogue between Carlson and Venus about making sure nothing like that ever happens again, Carlson mentioning that there has been talk about setting up a commission to look into what happened. CARLSON: But it's not just talk, Venus. This town's gonna do it. Oh, this is a good town, Venus. We're responsible people here. This leads into the voice over/on screen epilogue explaining what happened in the wake of the tragedy.

In all, I think this episode, a departure from WKRP's norm, was well-written and acted-one of WKRP's prouder moments.

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