1 9 7 8 – 1 9 8 2 (USA)
90 x 30 minute episodes
When small and ailing Cincinnati-based radio station WKRP employed new programme controller Andy Travis to change the format from Easy Listening to Top 40, a number of unexpected problems were encountered.
Travis encouraged the station’s owner, Mama Carlson, to make the switch from a drab playlist to rock music, and the ratings began to take off.
In the process, somehow, the likes of incompetent General Manager Arthur Carlson (“Big Guy”) and nerdy newsman Les Nessman managed to get along with counterculture figures like laid back jive-talking morning presenter Johnny “Fever” Caravella, and Venus Fly Trap (real name Gordon Sims) – a cool, black night-time jock.
Holding the station together with beauty, wit and charm was the busty blonde receptionist and secretary Jennifer Marlowe (played by the delectable Loni Anderson) who was constantly being pursued by obnoxious ad salesman and quintessential swinger asshole Herb Tarlek.
Following the deaths of 11 people preceding a concert by The Who at the at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati in December 1979, WKRP In Cincinnati presented a stirring half-hour that dealt with the deaths.
Handled with taste, the show helped explain the circumstances to non-rockers without trying to soft-peddle the tragedy. The show blamed the deaths on unassigned festival seating, and just before the credits, a message flashed on the screen to the effect that the city of Cincinnati had passed an ordinance banning general admission seating.
Not a bad piece of responsible work for a network sitcom.
WKRP holds the dubious distinction of being a sitcom that underwent no fewer than seven time-slot changes in four years. The CBS show was sufficiently successful in the USA, however, for a syndicated revival to be attempted in 1991 starring three of the original cast (Jump, Bonner and Sanders).
Arthur ‘Big Guy’ Carlson
Dr Johnny Fever
Venus Fly Trap
Lillian ‘Mama’ Carlson
Allyn Ann McLerie