Where is WKRP?


(Please don’t say Cincinnati. Please, lord, punish anyone that says Cincinnati. Thank you.)

I was promised I could find anything I wanted.

Not all-in-one shopping. It wasn’t all going to be on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Disney+ or whatever. I might have to search. I might learn whatever-it-is was on a platform I don’t subscribe to.

But in this world of on-demand, all in the clouds, streaming at my fingertips, digital age, I was promised I could find anything.

And, I can’t.

WKRP in Cincinnati was a brilliant show. (In fact, I contend that “Turkeys Away” is the greatest episode of television ever broadcast. Ever. No exceptions. It’s that good.) But there are some problems with it. One of the biggest issues involves the music.

The show did such a wonderful job of collecting and including music that much of it can no longer be used. As a really basic explanation, the rights and approvals involved were apparently so specific and narrow that beyond the original broadcast the usage was never agreed to and signed forever and for everything. Whether syndication or home video (or any other option and technological advancement that might come around), a huge batch of music that was utilized during the production of the show and made it to the first broadcasts can no longer be shared.

For the most part, time has healed a few wounds. Attempts have been made to restore as much as possible, and some content for WKRP has been negotiated and brought back. And you can do some searches and find episodes for purchase on some services, or collections of the show available for purchase.

But included with your subscription? Nope. Guaranteed available from your television or cable or satellite service? Not at all. Presented in its original format with all content intact? Not happening.

And WKRP is not alone.

People make fun of me from time to time. I like CDs. I like DVDs. But more than anything else, I suppose the best description of it is I like tangible. It’s nice to be able to say that streaming whatever… music and movies to start… can help me out. But what happens when Amazon or Apple goes out of business, and can no longer provide authentication of my purchase (and protect my rights of product ownership)?

And before you start laughing about Amazon or Apple going out of business, let’s just remember not many people thirty or forty years ago would have ever thought Sears was going out of business. Was Toys ‘R’ Us expensive? Yup, but it seemed solidly in place as a business entity. And if you want to know about the rise and fall of technology with a finger snap, find a Blockbuster and ask to speak with the store manager. (You’ll be looking in Oregon for this one. Only a single store left.)

Some of you will be familiar with the amazing history of the BBC. In simple terms, videotape was bulky and awkward and expensive and… well… just not easy to store. Tapes were erased and used again. Yup, classic television shows, considered disposable and wiped clean. (“Billy, would you go outside, clap the erasers and permanently delete the Doctor Who episodes? No one will ever want those again. Thank you.”)

Forgive me when people start talking about getting rid of DVDs, while defiantly telling me things will be so much easier and more readily available, and yet I remain hesitant to fully buy in on it.

It’s not true. And, if someone isn’t careful, they’ll be praying that somewhere a person has a copy of this or that in an obsolete format hidden in a box around the house. (Hmm… maybe that house could be in Cincinnati. Now that would be funny. Anyway…)

There used to be an old joke about your favorite album. A format appeared, and you needed to buy it again. The whole process was like some elaborate conspiracy to ensure future business. Album to 8-track to cassette to CD. And suddenly streaming, as if there would be a final purchase and no need to buy it again. The trouble is, what you want needs to be available before you never need anything else.

And until it is, “…if you’ve ever wondered, wondered whatever became of…”


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com