10 minor goofs and tiny errors on WKRP in Cincinnati

Like tiny scratches on a gold record.

WKRP in Cincinnati was a completely character-driven workplace sitcom that delivered the most laughs for the most attentive fans. There was so much physical comedy delivered through heavy steps, bugged eyes or victory dances, it was worth it to watch the background to catch all the extra jokes.

If you were this kind of WKRP fan, eager to catch every tiny look and crack up at every shuffled foot, then it's likely you also noticed any time the show stuttered in its slapstick brilliance. We're talking about all those tiny scratches on the show's gold record, when you noticed the record change when most viewers weren't looking, or flaws in the characters that only the biggest fans would point to - we even caught once where they spelled Cincinnati wrong!

Here are all the tiny blips we found, if you ever wondered ...

1. It's hard to hear the record when the needle's on the label...


Attentive WKRP fans will note occasionally when the DJs are spinning records on air, there will be minor issues with the records on the tables if you look closely enough. Sometimes the record's spinning at the wrong speed, other times, it's spinning completely backwards. Here's one from the pilot episode that is a big a cringe for a vinyl nerd as a scratch on a record: Dr. Fever's playing this record, but the needle's clearly over the label, not the groove. Can't expect Johnny Fever to sweat the small stuff, though, we guess.

2. Sometimes the record changes in between takes!


Perhaps the most noticeable of the DJ goofs, though, is when the record playing changes in between takes. Here you can see an example from "Turkeys Away," where the shot pans to Venus Flytrap, and when it shifts back to Johnny the label goes from yellow to black.

3. How many "Buckeye Newshawk Awards" has Les won?


One of Les Nessman's biggest boasts is that he's a five-time winner of the "Buckeye Newshawk Award." However, in the first season, during a bathroom scene in "Fish Story," Les seems to forget his proudest claim, saying he's won only two.

4. The "bullet hole" falls off this speaker on "Hold Up."


A memorable episode from the first season of WKRP in Cincinnati finds Johnny Fever held hostage by a wannabe DJ who holds up a stereo store. To prove the gun isn't actually loaded, the crazy guy shoots the gun off at a speaker, where a bullet hole appears, and then the speaker topples. The only trouble is when the speaker falls over, you can see the "bullet hole" fall off. At least the stressed-out store owner should be pleased!

5. Wait a minute ... Les Nessman isn't married.


On WKRP in Cincinnati, Les Nessman is awkward, quiet and not exactly a lady's man. His difficulties with dating are made a joke on the show. The actor who played Les, however, Richard Sanders, he was married. And in this shot from "In Concert," you can see the actor forgot to take his ring off for the scene. 

6. In Herb's "real" Cincinnati, there are palm trees.


In the third season, Herb Tarlek's family is selected to go on the reality show "Real Families." In the documentary footage they shoot outside Herb's house and on his commute to work, you can see palm trees on the roadside. This is because the show was taped in Hollywood, of course.

7. Herb somehow doesn't know how UHF stations work.


In the second season episode, "Venus Rising," Venus gets offered the job as program director of another radio station. That's not the goof. The goof comes from Herb Tarlek trying to ride Venus' coattails out of the station and claiming he was hired by "channel 71." It's likely the writers chose this channel on purpose, because UHF channels only go to 69, and they wanted to choose a free channel, but for those in the know, this line is open to nitpick.

8. You can tell they're on the wrong floor.


"Hoodlum Rock" was a zany early episode that found Johnny Fever babysitting rambunctious rockers in a hotel room. At one point, they even toss the bellhop out of a window. After which they ask Johnny, "What floor are we on?" and his joke is, "First." However, if you look outside the window, it's level with the antiques store sign on the building across the street, which careful fans have noted means they're definitely above the first floor. Poor bellhop!

9. That's a 2 card, Bailey. Not a 4.


In one of WKRP's more serious moments, "Straight from the Heart" found Herb facing heart complications, and the crew trying their hardest to convince him to get tests. This culminates in a bet where Bailey and Herb draw cards to decide if he should go to the hospital. Whoever draws the higher card wins. When Bailey draws her card, she announces it's a "4," but later when the scene resolves, Jan Smithers shows the card onscreen, and you can see she pulled a 2.

10. Venus' jacket spells Cincinnati with an "O."


Where could you find Venus Flytrap back in 1978? Probably living on the air in Cincinnato, Cincinnato, WKRP...

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JDnHuntsvilleAL 58 months ago
In the pilot, the station was a 50,000 watt powerhouse. After the pilot it became a 5,000 wimp. You see this on the map of the U.S. in the lobby. Somebody must have told the producers that 50,000 watts is a VERY powerful station. KMOX in St. Louis was a 50,000 watt station.
WILD 65 months ago
Question for whoever can answer this because i can't figure out just whom to direct it. The WKRP on DVD has had the music changed due to licensing issues and the copyright holder unwillingness to pay the fees. The question is does meTV air the episodes with the original music or with the changed music? Thank you.
WILD 65 months ago
Re: error #1 the needle isn't only on the label but the album on the turntable is from Casablanca Records which was KISS'label at that time. The record is a KISS record but the song playing is definately not a KISS song.
JeremyBlomstedt 65 months ago
The “Cincinnato” jacket is likely because the jacket was Major League Baseball-trademarked apparel, and trademarks like that are strictly enforced, particularly in TV and movies, even if it is the name of the city where the team plays.
ChuckJohnson 65 months ago
The UHF band used to go to channel 83. If you can find a REALLY old TV, the channels went from 14-83.
Channels 70-83 were dropped in 1983.
WILD ChuckJohnson 65 months ago
That's a bit ironic isn't it?
Tut ChuckJohnson 31 months ago
Maybe the writer is from the UK, where 69 was the highest TV channel for some time. But yeah, US TVs went to 83.
GemaRussell 70 months ago
Yep, this new sign in is ridiculous...who thought up no spaces?
Wiseguy 70 months ago
#9 Maybe Bailey deliberately lied so Herb would get the tests.
70s80stvfan Wiseguy 68 months ago
I loved Bailey
Pacificsun 70 months ago
MeTV writers forget, true fans, actually know their shows. Because they've been watching them for years (not just for an article). For example, #5 Sanders wears a ring on his left hand occasionally. Not unlike other sitcoms. WKRP was a playful show, not especially intent on continuity, focusing instead on their character interactions. Even the plots were subordinate. Probably the biggest oversight MeTV missed is the fact that a proper D.J. would be wearing headphones in the booth (thanks, John Zubak)!
Pacificsun 70 months ago
Am guessing #10 is an intentional joke. Nobody would miss that mistake! Especially the director!
BuckeyeBeth7 Pacificsun 70 months ago
Little do you know...
30 some years later and we're still having trouble spelling Cincinnato... Cinicinnati... Cincinnatti... yeah...whatever it's called..🙄🤣

Mrkrad 70 months ago
UHF went up to 83 at one point. Wikipedia says in 1983, uhf channels 70 to 83 were reallocated. Nice research guys.
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