All the songs played on the original editions of WKRP in Cincinnati tracked for the first time

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.

Now, though, someone has created a spreadsheet featuring every single song–REAL song–that appeared in the series. Won’t someone please make a Spotify playlist from this? (Via Boing Boing)



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37835 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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