WKRP Update…

A few days ago, I posted this about the passing of Atlanta DJ “Skinny Bobby” Harper. Harper spent many years at WQXI, and while he was there, a guy named Hugh Wilson worked in the advertising department. Wilson would go on to create WKRP in Cincinnati. As part of the article about Harper, I noted that Wilson based WKRP’s “Dr. Johnny Fever” character on “Skinny Bobby”.

Little did I know that a lot of WKRP was based on Wilson’s time at WQXI. Did you know, for example, that everyone’s favorite episode of WKRP – the one where they dropped live turkeys from helicopters – was based on an actual event? It seems that WQXI DJ Gerry Blum once rented an 18-wheeler, filled it full of live turkeys, and tossed them out the back at a parking lot of an Atlanta shopping center. Whether the truck was moving or stationary, I do not know. Blum was also behind the “dancing ducks” promotion – something WKRP ripped off wholesale – where ducks were made to “dance” by putting them on hot plates (presumably kept high enough to make them uncomfortable, but low enough not to burn them). It’s hard to imagine a radio station getting away with either of these promotions today!

Lastly, contrary to anything you might have heard from rabid WKRP fans (and believe it or not, there are rapid WKRP fans), the show’s closing theme does not have lyrics. Well, it does have lyrics, but they’re gibberish. The song was written and performed by Jim Ellis, an Atlanta musician (another Atlanta connection!). While he was working on the song, he used gibberish lyrics just to see how the song sounded overall. Wilson loved the song “as-is”, plus he knew that CBS would have an announcer talking during the end credits – so no one would ever heard it anyway. So he told Ellis to record it exactly as it was on the demo tape that he’d heard.


One Reply to “WKRP Update…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.