Last fall on this blog I wrote about the likelihood—or what seemed to me the unlikelihood—that WKRP in Cincinnati would ever be released on DVD, due to the nearly insurmountable problem of getting permission to use the music that appeared in the original episodes. Well, there’s good news, and there’s bad news. The good news: WKRP is coming out on DVD next week. Bad news: Fox Home Entertainment reportedly overcame the music clearance problem by eliminating it. Much of the original music, and in some cases, entire scenes have been removed to get around the need to clear the music. In effect, what Fox is releasing is not “complete” the way other DVD sets are complete. Says Jaime J. Weinman, a Canadian magazine writer: “[T]his isn’t exactly ‘WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete First Season’ as it says on the box. It’s more like ‘WKRP in Cincinnati: Extended Highlights from the First Season.'” (There’s more on the missing music here.) The same sort of thing is apparently happening with the upcoming Season 2 release of Happy Days by Paramount, which will contain almost none of the original 50s music, not even “Rock Around the Clock.” In that case, it’s because Paramount lost money on Season 1 due to poor sales after ponying up for all the originals. Perhaps Fox feared the same thing: spending a bundle (and it would have cost a bundle to license songs by Pink Floyd and Talking Heads, for example) and having to price the set too high as a result.
Given its truncated nature, it’s probably good that the WKRP set is inexpensive. List price is $39.99 for the three-disc set, and you can find it for less online, if you’ve really got to have it. Based on what I’m reading online, many WKRP fans don’t think they do.
In Case You Have Nothing Better to Do: Check out a few new sites from the blogroll, starting with Ron Smith’s Oldies Music, a Chicago-centric site loaded with trivia and information. (Thanks to Davewillieradio for the tip.) Browsing Ron’s site, I found a couple of others that I’ll be visiting regularly: Catsfield’s Oldies Music Charts and Jukebox, which comes from New Zealand and features a searchable database of the American charts from 1944 to 2000 (!); and The New York Radio Music Survey Site, which has collected weekly charts from WABC, WMCA, and WMGM. Go nuts, everybody.