When WKRP in Cincinnati debuted on CBS in the fall of 1978, it introduced a radical use of music. Up until then, it was extraordinarily rare to hear real music from real artists in a TV show. The process of licensing music for this use was almost completely unknown, so few TV producers bothered. But WKRP was determined to portray life at a radio station as realistically as possible.
The best example is probably the episode entitled “The Contest Nobody Could Win.”
When the show went off the air, the producers found themselves in a dilemma. The rightsholders for all the songs used in WKRP wanted to be compensated properly. The result was that WKRP didn’t get a proper second life in syndication and took forever to come to DVD. And even when it did–at least the first time around–all the music had to be substituted with something generic to avoid lawsuits and payment of licensing fees.