After 4 Decades, The Berkshires Look Back At A Beloved “TV Radio Station”
Berkshire residents: Allow me to get a little nostalgic on this article as this will bring back some memories back in the days when watching TV was well worth your time: It was on September 18th, 1978, just 9 days after arriving from a vacation at my native land of Greece and let's not forget that a new school year began a week earlier, so my aim was to wind down and watch some top quality prime time programming. I hit pay dirt when tuning in to channel 2 (WCBS-TV) and discovered they were presenting a situation comedy that was based at a radio station in the Buckeye State of Ohio. Here is how it first started in episode one that featured the late, great Howard Hesseman as the iconic DJ simply known for his "on-air medical healing"
The show we are spotlighting: "WKRP In Cincinnati" as it shined on network TV from 1978 until around this time in 1982. These highlights truly remind our tri-state region listeners there were plenty of shenanigans on hand at a fictional place, but some of the moments reflect the realities of broadcasting. Here is another memorable moment from the 1st season as the staff wrestles with a side splitting on-air Thanksgiving Day promotion:
This scene still makes me "LMAO" to this day. As does this clip when Station Manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump) questions as to why "Dogs" are on the airwaves.
Let's not forget Johnny's fear of "The Phone Cops" as the paranoia sets in nicely:
On a serious note, the show also gave us dramatic moments as they reflected on the passing of 11 concert goers after a stampede that occurred at a Who concert in 1979 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati plus real-life challenges that continue to plague the radio industry including censorship, consultants and payola. Here is a scene where Tim Reid (aka Venus Flytrap) reveals the answer to a question that audiences wanted to know: "Who Is Gordon Sims?"
Creator Hugh Wilson was in fact a former radio personality as he based plot lines from real-life situations he experienced when working in the radio business. For four seasons, we were immersed in his world and vicariously lived every moment when these scenarios played out on the small screen. The unfortunate reason why CBS finally yanked the show in April of 1982 is because "The Tiffany Network" kept moving WKRP around during prime time and audiences just could not find the show as it is safe to say we are "creatures of habit" when it comes to watching out favorite TV shows.
The final episode entitled "Up & Down the Dial" aired 40 years ago as the plot focused on KRP's farewell to music in favor of an all-news format. Here is Dr. Johnny Fever with a final attempt in keeping the rock music going, much to Mama Carlson's chagrin:
The series finally folded after 90 episodes, but made a brief return in 1991 as "The New WKRP In Cincinnati" debuted with only 3 of the original cast members, Gordon Jump, Richard Sanders and the late Frank Bonner reprising their original roles while their other co-stars made cameo appearances in selected episodes (there were only 47 tallied in this installment and sequels don't normally fare out strong as their original counterparts)
As radio people, we can closely associate with the trials and tribulations of WKRP as I never expected to live through some of these scenarios up close and personal with added adventures along the way. The journey continues with no end in sight as my seat belt continues to remain fastened and I enjoy the ride in more ways than one!
How long it takes to binge 'The Office,' 'Game of Thrones,' and 50 other famous TV shows