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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

WKRP out on DVD in April

Great news! Fox finally plans to release the first season of the "WKRP in Cincinnati," the beloved short-lived sitcom fictionally set in Cincinnati (1978-82). According to the tvshowsondvd Web site the three-disc set will include all 22 episodes, including some of my (and yours?) favorites:
--Mr. Carlson's (Gordon Jump) infamous "Turkey drop" Thanksgiving promotion.
--Venus Flytrup (Tim Reid) admitting he's draft dodger Gordon Sims.
--Jennifer Marlowe (Loni Anderson) going as Les Nessman's (Richard Sanders) date to receive the Silver Sow award.
--Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner) dressing up as the WKRP carp mascot.
--Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) quitting for a job in LA.
--The Sunday morning preacher who sells "religious artifcats" such as John the Baptist shower curtains.
Extras include commentary on the pilot by creator Hugh Wilson and cast members, the making of "WKRP" and "Turning a Turkey Into A Classic."
The set (561 minutes) will retail for $39.98 when released on April 3.

So what's your favorite "WKRP" episode or memory?


at 1/03/2007 12:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


I remember an episode where the staff composed and sang commercial jingles for a local funeral home. I'm not sure what season that was in.

It'll be fun to see all the video clips showing 1978 Cincinnati and how much it has changed.

You reference WKRP has "short lived" for four seasons. Some of today's sit-coms don't last four episodes.

at 1/03/2007 12:41 PM Blogger KRCincy said...

What else needs be said but..."I swear, as God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

I can't wait for April 3!

at 1/03/2007 12:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Les with a bandaid in a different spot in every episode.

Les with his "invisable cube" workstation. He had tape on the floor.

Herb's coats, he must have bought them from Jack Moran.

at 1/03/2007 12:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I caught an episode recently in which a tornado was threatening Cincinnati. I thought it was funny to hear the radio staff directing people to the hospitals -- all of which were the real names of local hospitals at the time. Also funny, because if there really was a tornado - the TV and radio stations wouldn't be doing that.

at 1/03/2007 1:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John,
We laugh at all these bits, but having worked in a few small stations during my 30 years in the business, 1969-1999, so much of what we see, is very close to reality.

I once had a GM like Gordon Jump. We've all worked with a sales guy who wore goofy sports coats and reeked of cheap after-shave. I once had a newsroom/slash office that was 5' by 5'(at least it had a door). And, we've all worked with a "Johnny Fever".

When KRP came on in 78 I was at WLWS (Stereo 96). WKRP was us (minus the turkey drop). A zany crew working on a niche station that few listeners knew even existed. But we were like family.

Unfortunately, you'll never see that kind of atmosphere in radio again. Too bad.

Fred Slezak

at 1/03/2007 1:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Morning TriState

I'm having yet another bad hair day.

at 1/03/2007 2:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

April 3rd...hmmmm can you say 1974?

My favorite two episodes were Venus teaching the makeup of an atom and the censorship episode. How many stations received letters back in 81-83 telling us what songs we shouldn't play, like "Physical"? Arthur Carlson's discussion of "one person's decision" hauntingly rings true to today.

John: How did they get around the music rights issues that forced the shows to be reedited after the first round of syndication?

at 1/03/2007 3:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked the episode about the Flying Pig Marathon - where Herb ran the race in his plaid sportcoat. It was a hoot!

at 1/03/2007 4:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the one where Dr Johnny Fever won the coney-eating contest? Awesome!

at 1/03/2007 4:40 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Yes, the funeral home jingle show, called "A Commercial Break," was part of the first season and on the DVD.
As for seeing parts of old Cincinnati on the show, building used as an exterior for WKRP downtown was the old Enquirer building at 617 Vine. The camera panned up from Fountain Square and zoomed in on the top floor of the old Enquirer building. I think they called it the Flemm Building.
And the "Contest Nobody Could Win,? when Johnny Fever read the wrong prize amount (not $5,000, but only $50) was written by Casey Piotrowski, who I think was once a WSAI DJ. Does anyone remember?

at 1/03/2007 5:35 PM Anonymous Kevin said...

This is very strange. I thought these would never get published because of the licensing rights required for all of the popular music that was played during each episode in the DJ booth. It would seem either they have changed this music to something "licenseable" or these episodes are not the real McCoy. I can't imagine they paid to license all that music from the song's owners...

at 1/03/2007 5:53 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Kevin: They're subbing some songs, in consultation with creator Hugh Wilson. Won't be identical, for sure, but glad they've figured a way to bring these to market. If you want the original music, the VHS versions are on Amazon and other sites.

at 1/03/2007 6:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the heck is up with 12? This happens quite often...but today it was extra-bad. I found it tonight when I got home and started to watch on my DVR...but the first 11 minutes of Y&R were lost. 6 minutes of the Local 12 logo and 5 minutes of self-promotion before I saw any of the show. Was this problem over-the-air or just through the DirecTV feed?

at 1/03/2007 9:16 PM Anonymous kathy said...


The sun will set for the last time on THE O.C. when the series ends its four-season run Thursday, Feb. 22 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. The countdown has begun, with all-original episodes airing from Thursday, Jan. 4 through the last episode on Feb. 22.

THE O.C. stars Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen), Kelly Rowan (Kirsten Cohen), Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan Atwood), Adam Brody (Seth Cohen), Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper), Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts), Autumn Reeser (Taylor Townsend) and Willa Holland (Autumn Reeser).

Set in Orange County, California, THE O.C. premiered in August 2003. It follows a group of friends and families whose lives were changed by the arrival of an outsider Ryan Atwood to their ocean-side community of Newport Beach.

THE O.C. revived the teen drama genre while including humorous and heartfelt adult storylines. Shortly after its summer premiere, THE O.C. was a pop culture phenomenon its actors are household names and its indie music (and subsequent six soundtracks) and hip California wardrobe are sought-after in stores. The shows Newport Beach locale also has become a popular tourist attraction as fans visit the real locations featured in their favorite episodes.

"THE O.C. Season Four finale will also be the series finale. This feels like the best time to bring the show to its close, said Josh Schwartz, creator and executive producer of THE O.C. Thanks to the hard work of our cast, crew and writers, we have enjoyed our best season yet, and what better time to go out than creatively on top. It has been an amazing experience and a great run. For a certain audience, at a certain time, THE O.C. has meant something. For that we are grateful."

at 1/03/2007 9:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares? Let's talk more about Channel 5!

at 1/04/2007 7:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

#51 - Jim Scott celebrated his 283rd year in broadcasting.

at 1/04/2007 7:20 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

51. A bird can fly....but a fly can't bird.

at 1/04/2007 10:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bailey Quarters! Yummmm!

at 1/04/2007 10:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Aya-Tolan Rears Her Ugly Head

Former WLWT News Director Moves to Columbus...

Lyn Tolan has been named News Director for WSYX-WTTE, the Sinclair-owned ABC/FOX duopoly.

Lyn has been living in Columbus (where her husband is an attorney) since leaving the ND's position at WFSB-TV in Hartford. She's also been a news director in Grand Rapids, MI, Cincinnati, and Orlando. Earlier in her career Lyn was the Assistant News Director at WBNS-TV in Columbus.

at 1/04/2007 11:09 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

NewsBlues headline dubs her:

>>Queen of Tabloid hired in Columbus

at 1/04/2007 11:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 10:15 - there's nothing in that report that differs from what John has reported.

anon 11:09 - back in 1997 when we got 2 feet of snow in one February day (I think it was that much), Channel 5 - under Tolan's direction - was calling it a blizzard, when it clearly was not. I sent her an email calling her on the decision to over-hype the storm and contribute to the already frail local mindset when it comes to snow. I told her that the storm didn't meet the established criteria for a blizzard. She wrote back that the National Weather Service was not a credible organization because of financial issues and their definition therefore didn't apply. With that thought process it's no wonder Channel 5 was always the worst station back then. I think even John took her to task on that one.

Not much has changed in 10 years...

at 1/04/2007 12:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

22 episodes over 4 seasons? Really? An average of 5 shows a year???

at 1/04/2007 1:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

my 2 fovorite segments were the "helicopter" traffic reports and his mispronunciation of ChiChi Rodriquez(i hope i spelled his name right)and one other fun one was when for a contest there was supposed to be a life size cutout of venus and it was of herb

at 1/04/2007 1:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

at 1/04/2007 12:59 PM Anonymous said...

22 episodes over 4 seasons? Really? An average of 5 shows a year???


Pay attention class:

Great news! Fox finally plans to release the first season of the "WKRP in Cincinnati," the beloved short-lived sitcom fictionally set in Cincinnati (1978-82).

at 1/04/2007 2:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mistake. Thank you. That makes more sense.

at 1/04/2007 2:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who keeps posting as the traffic guy at 5? If you want to see a REAL loser, try checking out WKRC's Boob Herzog. Tell me... Just what, exactly, does using a John Madden-style drawing thing do to help me get to work in the morning? Not to mention the fact that he's a tool.

at 1/04/2007 2:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Boob was the prototype that 5 modeled their guy after.

Young face. No experience. And stand him in front of a Pac-Man board that's supposed to be Cincinnati's Traffic flow. BRILLIANT!!!

Sounds like an episode of WKRP.

at 1/04/2007 4:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, 5's guy came first - before ANY of the other "traffic people." And he's been around the broadcasting biz a long time... I remember hearing him on WARM 98's morning show about 7 or 8 years ago, too. Boob has done a lot of theater, I hear (at least he says that) ... Not so sure about Denise's Johnson. And what about 19's guy? Does he do traffic while sitting at home in his boxers?

Lots of BIG markets use the traffic thing 5 has. Other stations have tried to imitate it since they started with it last fall. Pete's a talented guy. (And did I mention cute?)

Isn't EVERY station like WKRP? If only things could be MORE like the good ol' days... Especially in local radio. Innocence lost, i guess.

at 1/04/2007 4:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Pete. Could you be more transparent?

at 1/04/2007 4:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually John Phillips did traffic on all three stations at one point. To say Pete was the first is laughable, especially all of the others who lined up for the Gong-Show on-air tryout process on WLW-T.

By the way, do all news scripts start out "We begin with breaking news...."???

at 1/04/2007 6:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

...they will until research shows live doesn't test well.

at 1/04/2007 11:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Scott will be doing traffic on 55KRC very soon.

at 1/04/2007 11:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember the WKRP where the egged the Enquirer reporter for writing a bad review of the station?

at 1/04/2007 11:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who would win in this celebrity death match - Kiese or Mike McConnell? Who would get their lunch eaten?

at 1/05/2007 9:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...



at 1/05/2007 9:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...



at 1/05/2007 9:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...



at 1/05/2007 9:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...



at 1/05/2007 10:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

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at 1/06/2007 9:35 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is raining - and I am sad.

at 1/06/2007 10:29 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

run run!

at 1/06/2007 3:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the first thing i want to do is eat some pancakes.

at 1/06/2007 11:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


at 1/07/2007 8:32 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...


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