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America's Favorite Radio Station

WKRP in Cincinnati

Michael B. Kassel

Publication Year: 1993

Although it became one of the most successful programs in syndicated television history, WKRP in Cincinnati faced an uphill struggle trying to obtain prime-time success. Kassel chronicles the decisions and problems that affected WKRP's primetime success, and explores the reasons why it went on to become a classic.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. i-ii

Two and one-half years have passed since I first began researching and writing about WKRP in Cincinnati. During that time I have met or have become better acquainted with a number of wonderful people who have helped me with this project. The following

WKRP Creative Alumni

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pp. iii-v

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pp. vii-17

I began working on this project over two years ago. Since that time, my ideas of the media and how I want to write about it have changed. I went into this project thinking that television is great, that the media is great, and that banal TV programming is only the result of a lack of talented...

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pp. 1-4

There is something special about WKRP in Cincinnati. While it was never a sustained hit in prime-time, the hilarious, always "hip," often touching series does extremely well in syndication. It is the most popular MTM syndicated comedy, seen in more American markets than such...

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Chapter One: The Concept

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pp. 5-11

Harrison's is a bar in Atlanta that caters to the advertising and media crowd. It was there, in the early 1970s, Hugh Wilson met radio WQXI salesman Clark Brown. 'Through Brown, along with others in the media, Wilson had the chance to meet a number of the people who worked...

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Chapter Two: Casting WKRP: "The Worst Three Weeks of My Life"

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pp. 12-34

You have just been transported to the late 1970s, where you are casting a new television show. Perhaps you've dreamed of the opportunity to play the glamorous Hollywood casting director; however, there is more than the glitter and glitz to consider. Not only do your...

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Chapter Three: "Hugh's Baby": The Pilot

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pp. 35-48

Casting was not the only thing on Hugh Wilson's mind; he was also busy with his new staff of writers. Wilson, along with Tom Chehak, Blake Hunter and Bill Dial, began putting the finishing touches on the pilot script. While the staff made contributions, they are quick to point out that this was...

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Chapter Four: ''Put Us Behind MxAxSxH": The First Season

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pp. 49-68

The September 18, 1978 debut of WKRP was greeted with a fair amount of fanfare, including a number of decent reviews. Variety called the new series a potential hit for CBS, provided Wilson and Company could keep up the excellent writing evidenced by the pilot...

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Chapter Five: "CBS in the Valley": The Second Season

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pp. 69-84

At the entrance to CBS Studio City's Sound Stage 1\vo is a plaque that reads: "On this stage a company of loving and talented friends produced a television classic. The Mary Tyler Moore Show 1970-1977" (Alley, Brown 237). In its second season...

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Chapter Six: A Study in Reality: The Third Season

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pp. 85-97

In the summer of 1980, The Screen Actors Guild initiated a strike against theatrical and prime time producers. Effectively shutting down film and television production, SAG demanded higher wages for its members and a resolution to the problems concerning actor's compensation for industry profits...

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Chapter Seven: "I'm Exhausted": The Fourth Season

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pp. 98-112

There was an interesting irony in WKRP's fourth and final season. On the one hand, WKRP, the radio station, began doing very well. Under an economic boycott instigated by the "Clean Up Radio" people, WKRP went commercial free and began picking up good numbers...

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Chapter Eight: "Whatever Became of Me... ": Epilogue

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pp. 113-122

During an interview in early 1990, Gordon Jump said that he felt WKRP could have gone on happily for another six years. If he will settle for another four, he has himself a deal; in March 1990, MTM announced that it would produce four more years of...


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pp. 123-135

"Living on the Air in Cincinnati": The Episode Guide

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pp. 136-153

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The First Season--1978-1979

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pp. 137-149

In the words of DJ Johnny Caravella, WKRP in Cincinnati is "rock bottom." Playing music that is 20 years out of date, the station is losing $100,000 a year and foundering in the Cincinnati market. Run by the somewhat scatter-brained fishing fanatic...

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The Second Season--1979-1980

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pp. 150-165

Les, whose violin lessons had robbed him of an athletically active childhood, has accepted a softball game challenge from Clark Callahan, the blow-hard station manager from WPIG AM & FM. Reluctantly, the rest of the gang decides to take on the...

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The Third Season--1980-1981

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pp. 166-180

Les has finally decided to take on the helicopter gap that exists between WKRP and WPIG. On the day before Veteran's day, as the PIG's "Eye in the Sky" copter reports traffic conditions, Les, in a biplane that he calls the "Fish Eye in the Sky," sweeps by the...

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The Fourth Season--1981-1982

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pp. 181-195

WKRP has climbed to tenth place in the Cincinnati market, but the staff does not feel that they are sharing in the station's success-they want more money. Invited to join the Brotherhood of Midwestern Radio Workers, Fever, Venus, and Bailey seriously consider...


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pp. 196-213

Works Cited

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pp. 197-199

Appendix A

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pp. 200-202

Appendix B

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pp. 203-206

E-ISBN-13: 9780299258030
Print-ISBN-13: 9780879725853

Page Count: 214
Publication Year: 1993