WKRP in Cincinnati

Season 3 Episode 22

Clean Up Radio Everywhere

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Apr 12, 1981 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
23 votes

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Episode Summary

Clean Up Radio Everywhere
Dr. Bob Halyers, head of the organization Clean Up Radio Broadcasting (CURB), visits Mr. Carlson with a list of "obscene" songs that he wants the station to stop playing- or else.

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  • Every time I hear John Lennon's Imagine, I recall this episode.

    I had no idea at the time what a profound impact this episode had on the way I think today, 31 years later. For the producers and writers of a "sit com" based show to have the courage to write and produce this episode in 1978 is unbelievable. They had more "stones" than the "big guy" at the end of the episode. AND YET, 31 years later, much control of the media by religious and political groups is more rampant and overt than ever. I hope Hugh Wilson and the writers get a chance to read this, so they know what impact they had on me.moreless
  • Mr. Carlson aligns himself with a group claiming to want to clean up the dirty lyrics in songs, but he soon finds that they are looking to completely censor the music the station plays. Andy convinces the Big Guy not to give in to them, but still...moreless

    This is one of the very best episodes in the series, dealing with a very real issue in an honest and profound way. Its interesting, because, despite their generational differances, Mr. Carlson and Andy have in common the desire to do the right thing. And its not a cut and dried issue. As Carlson says at one point, "I find some of those songs offensive myself". And it was a real issue at the time, because Rev. Jerry Falwell was leading a crusade to censor songs because of offensive lyrics. But the Big Guy comes around to Andys way of thinking when the Falwell-like minister(wonderfully played by Richard Paul, who beared such an erie resemblence to Falwell, he would portray the Reverand in the film, "The People vs. Larry Flynt", starts sending a list of songs to be removed, and when Andy recites the lyrics to the classic John Lennon song "Imagine" and the minister decides to censor it too, not because its dirty, but it promotes the blasphemous idea that you can imagine a world with no heaven or hell, the censorship of ideas is too much for Andy to take, and Carlson has to agree. Soon, WKRP is losing sponsors who have chosen to boycott the station, even the beloved Red Wigglers account(yes, they are worms!). The episode ends with uncertainty about the future. But Andy knows its the right thing to do, though the Big Guy is not so sure. In the 80s, its not unusual for an episode to end with the main issue unresolved, but here it is courageous, because you really wonder about the future of WKRP. But thats what makes this such a great episode.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Andy: If all else fails, I might even set Les Nessman on them.
      Mr. Carlson: Boy, that could signal the end of organized religion as we know it.

    • Mr. Carlson: When it comes to losing advertising clients, these bozos don't know who they're up against.

    • Les: In a situation like this, I always ask myself, what would my hero Edward R. Murrow think? And I think that Ed would think that this was censorship. Then I think about what my other hero, General George Patton, would think, and I think George would think that radio and television ought to be cleaned up, and if he were alive today, he'd take two armoured calvalry divisions into Hollywood and knock all those liberal pinheads into the Pacific! So as you can see, I'm a very confused man. And when I get confused, I watch TV. Television is never confusing. It's all so simple somehow.

    • Andy: Half the time you can't even hear the lyrics.
      Mr. Carlson: Well, these people, these CURB monitors, they figured out the lyrics.
      Johnny: They sure did! Boy, I can see 'em now, huddled there in the corner of the church, playing every record slower and slower... then suddenly, "there's a naughty word!"

  • NOTES (0)