Tim Reid Fondly Recalls His Days on ‘WKRP’

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  • Posted Saturday, November 8, 2014 10:30 pm

By HAYS DAVIS Special correspondent, Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch

For four seasons, the TV sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” brought viewers into the office, the control booth, and the lives of a wildly varied and endearing cast of characters. And from 1978 to 1982, WKRP was one of the most influential radio stations in America, even though it didn’t exist.

Actors Tim Reid and Howard Hesseman, who played the DJs Venus Flytrap and Dr. Johnny Fever, respectively, selected the music themselves.

“We introduced a lot of music,” said Reid, speaking from his Petersburg studio of Tim Reid Productions. “We got two gold records: one for breaking ‘Heart of Glass’ (by) Blondie, and we got one for ‘After the Love Is Gone,’ the Earth, Wind & Fire song.” Reid was even thanked by Bob Marley for helping to break out the reggae giant on U.S. radio.

“We had an incredible record collection, because, back in the day, the music companies would flood us with records to try to get us to play music. Once (Howard and I) would get the script, we would get a look at what we had to say, what the scene was about, and I would listen to music to find the music that fit more for what I felt I would be playing under those circumstances.”

Ironically, the music has prevented fans from seeing complete episodes since their original airings, because of licensing issues. Later video releases could be confusing, edited around songs that were intricately involved with the action but could no longer be included in the show. A new box set of the complete series, recently issued by Shout! Factory, goes a long way toward rectifying the matter, restoring about 80 percent of the original music as well as the minute or more per episode that had been cut to add commercial time during syndication.

“The show broke a lot of barriers,” recalled Reid, “both for character interpretation and the kind of stories that we were doing, but it all came from the willingness of the creator and producer, Hugh Wilson, to allow actors to bring to the role a part of themselves that made it all rich and interesting.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I loved WKRP. The cast were all great, the show was funny but also had a good storyline, the music was excellent too. I would love to see it on tv again with the original music selections.

    ———————-
    Les Nessman, (TURKEY DROP EPISODE.) I’m here with hundreds of people who have gathered to witness what has been described as perhaps the greatest turkey event in Thanksgiving Day history. All we know for sure is that in a very few moments there are going to be a lot of happy people out here. Now the crowd is…

    [passers-by gawk at Les]

    Les Nessman: The… the crowd is uh… curious but well behaved. And I think I hear something now. Uh… The crowd is moving out into the parking area. And… oh yes! I can see it now. It’s a… it’s a… helicopter and it’s coming this way!

    Andy Travis: A helicopter?

    Les Nessman: It’s flying something behind it and I can’t quite make it out. It’s a large banner and it says H A P P Y… T H A N K S… giving… from W… K… R… P! What a sight, ladies and gentlemen. What a sight. The ‘copter seems to circling the parking area now. I guess it’s looking for a place to land. No! Something just came out of the back of a helicopter. It’s a dark object, perhaps a skydiver plummeting to the earth from only two thousand feet in the air… There’s a third… No parachutes yet… Those can’t be skydivers. I can’t tell just yet what they are but… Oh my God! They’re turkeys! Oh no! Johnny can you get this? Oh, they’re crashing to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! This is terrible! Everyone’s running around pushing each other. Oh my goodness! Oh, the humanity! People are running about. The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! Folks, I don’t know how much longer… The crowd is running for their lives. I think I’m going to step inside. I can’t stand here and watch this anymore. No, I can’t go in there. Children are searching for their mothers and oh, not since the Hindenberg tragedy has there been anything like this. I don’t know how much longer I can hold my position here, Johnny. The crowd…

    Dr. Johnny Fever: Les? Les? Les, are you there? Les isn’t there. Thanks for that on-the-spot report, Les. For those of you who’ve just tuned in, the Pinedale Shopping Mall has just been bombed with live turkeys. Film at eleven.

  2. I remember laughing so hard when Johny Fever had a live on air remote from Del’s stereo store that was held up by an out of work DJ. “Bobbie Boogie”
    – ” Speed kills Del”!
    – “I’m not paying for this!!”

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