WKRP In Cincinnati – New Blood
In a small radio station in Cincinnati, OH…
Station manager Andy Travis is sitting in his office talking to Program Director Bailey Quarters.
“So we’ve got to get some new talent hired for the on-air talent soon”, Andy said. “Johnny is old and, I believe getting senile. And Venus keeps getting offers from all around the country. I’m surprised that he’s stayed here this long.”
“Johnny isn’t senile”, Bailey laughed. “He isn’t any worse than he was when he started here at the station.”
“Oh yeah”, Andy smiled.
“And Venus isn’t going anywhere. He’s stayed here this long, hasn’t he? And he has that great syndication deal.”
“That syndication deal is all that keeps WKRP afloat”, Andy said. “Well, that and regular donations from Jennifer.”
“How does that work exactly?”, Bailey asked.
“Well, since Jennifer inherited that billion dollar fortune from that oil man down in Texas, she decided to allocate a certain amount each year to keep the station alive”, Andy explained.
“And all we have to do is have one day a year in honor of Mr. Carlson”, Bailey smiled. “We would do that anyhow.”
“You know that and I know that”, Andy said. “And Jennifer knows that too. But the money she provides, along with the deal syndicating Venus’s show, keeps us able to stay on the air and compete.”
“So we need to find some new on-air talent?”, Bailey asked.
“We do”, Andy said. “We need some new fresh talent to fill in and keep the ratings up when Johnny and Venus are not on the air.”
“Well, Les still wants an hour of talk-news to do each day. Maybe that would help spike the ratings?”, Bailey suggested.
“Yeah”, Andy agreed. “Straight down. Les is the head of the news department. He runs the department and those new kids, Charlie and Shelley, handle the real work. Let’s just keep him there.”
“Well, he’s getting a little antsy”, Bailey remarked. “He wants to get back on the air.”
“I’ll speak to him”, Andy said. “Now what are your ideas about new on-air personalities?”
“I’ve put ads in the local papers and on the internet”, Bailey answered. “I’m holding open auditions.”
“Are you sure that’s smart?”, Andy said. “Wouldn’t you be better off to just request tapes and resumes? Open auditions bring out the crazies.”
“It’ll be fun”, Bailey said. “And Johnny said he’ll help me.”
“Good luck”, Andy said. “Do it and try to get us two or three good talents, okay?”
“We can do it!”, Bailey smiled.
“Okay, I’ve got to get back to work”, Andy laughed. “Sales meeting with Herb in fifteen minutes.”
“I thought you hated those sales meetings with Herb?”, Bailey asked.
“I do”, Andy sighed. “But they make him happy and it gives me an idea of what he’s up to.”
“Plus Jennifer asked you to keep him around and be nice to him”, Bailey smirked.
“That too”, Andy sighed.
“Have fun then” Bailey laughed. “I’ll go talk to Johnny so we’re on the same page when we have the auditions.”
Bailey walked out of the office as Andy sat back in his chair.
“Open auditions? That should be a hoot!”, he laughed to himself. “Better Bailey and Johnny than me.”
Andy leaned over and hit the speaker sitting on his desk, calling to the receptionist.
“When Herb gets here, send him in”, Andy told his receptionist. And then leaning back in his chair, he laughed to himself once more.
“Open auditions? Geez!”
A few days later, at a local motel, Bailey is waiting in a rented meeting room going over notes. The applicants for the open on-air positions at WKRP had gathered outside in the waiting area. Dr. Johnny Fever came rushing into the room, slamming the door behind him.
“Hi Johnny”, Bailey said as he entered.
“Have you seen the crowd out there”, Johnny said. “I tried to walk through and they nearly tore me apart.”
“Is it that crowded?”, Bailey asked, worriedly.
“It’s insane”, Johnny said. “There is no way we’re going to be able to interview everybody in that crowd!”
“But we have to”, Bailey said. “We need to find at least two new on-air talents to help back up you and Venus.”
“That crowd out there belongs in the circus. Not on the radio”, Johnny remarked.
“I’ll go out and talk to them and get everyone to behave in an orderly fashion”, Bailey said.
“No”, Johnny said. “They’ll tear you apart! Send someone else.”
“Who”, Bailey asked.
“Hello Johnny. Hello Bailey”, a voice came from the back of the room as a small man wearing a bowtie and glasses walked into the room through the back door.
“Hi Les”, both Bailey and Johnny responded at the same time.
“What are you doing here, Les?”, Johnny asked the WKRP News Director.
“Well, new personalities for the station is big news”, Les said. “I wanted to cover it myself.”
“Andy threw you out of the station?”, Bailey asked.
“Well… yes”, Les admitted. “That too!”
“Les”, Johnny said, putting his arm around the newsman’s shoulder. “Do you want to help us out?”
“Of course, Johnny”, Les said with a big smile.
“Go out there in that room and have those people waiting to audition sit down and wait quietly until we can interview them one by one”, Johnny asked.
“Is that all”, Les asked. “I’ll whip them into shape and get everyone ready. I’ll tell them about my six consecutive Silver Sow awards.”
“Go for it Les”, Johnny said.
Les walked out of the room and into the lobby.
“That was just plain wrong”, Bailey told Johnny.
“Better him than us”, Johnny said.
Suddenly the door flew open and Les came running back into the room. The sleeves had been torn from his jacket and his glasses were twisted on his pain contorted face.
“Those people are animals”, Les screamed.
“Les? What happened”, Bailey asked.
“I went out there and told that crowd to listen up and that we were going to get organized so you could start the auditions. But they just started moving up on me closer and closer. They had blood in their eyes!”
“I’m sure it wasn’t that bad Les”, Johnny said.
“Blood in their eyes, Johnny!”, Les said.
“Are you okay”, Bailey asked.
“I think I’m going to go over there and sit down”, Les said with a heavy sigh.
Bailey and Johnny watched as the battered newsman walked to the back of the room and sat down, collapsing into a chair.
“So now what do we do?”, Bailey asked Johnny. “That crowd is going to eat us alive.”
Johnny reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone.
“I think it’s time we called in the big guns!”, he said.
“Who?”, Bailey asked. “The police? The National Guard?”
“Nope”, Johnny said. “Someone with more power and influence than that.”
Johnny put the phone to his ear.
A short time later, Bailey, Johnny and Les were holding the door shut as screaming applicants pushed against the door trying to get inside.
“Andy was right”, Bailey sighed. “This was a bad idea!”
“You think?”, Johnny yelled.
“We won’t be able to hold them much longer”, Les said frightenedly. “They’ll tear us apart!”
“Wait a minute”, Bailey said. “Do you hear that?”
“What?”, Johnny asked. “I don’t hear anything!”
“It’s gotten very quiet out there”, Les agreed. “The calm before the storm. We’re doomed!”
“You’re right”, Johnny said. “It has gotten quiet.”
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Bailey, Les and Johnny all jumped in fear.
Another knock and the door opened. Les let out a high pitched scream as Bailey and Johnny grabbed each other and lept under the table, preparing for the onslaught of prospective applicants.
“Hello”, a soft voice said.
“What?”, Johnny asked. “We’re not dead?”
“No Johnny, you’re not dead”, the soft voice spoke once more.
Johnny looked up and opened his eyes.
“Hi Jennifer”, he smiled. “I wasn’t frightened, by the way. I knew we weren’t dead!”
“I know”, Jennifer smiled. “Hello Les. Hello Bailey.”
“Jennifer?”, Les said. “I am so glad to see you!”
“What happened to the crazy crowd out there”, Bailey asked. “How did you get through without getting ripped apart?”
“I just told them to be quiet and we’d get to them as soon as we could.”
“I tried that and they nearly tore me apart”, Les said.
“But you’re not Jennifer”, Johnny said with a knowing smile.
“No… you’re not”, Jennifer smiled.
“Well, I guess we’d better get to work and start the interviews”, Bailey said. “Is everyone ready?”
“That depends”, Johnny said. “Are you staying here, Jennifer… for the interviews?”
“Of course”, Jennifer smiled.
“Thank God!”, Les muttered.
Hours passed and Johnny, Bailey, Jennifer and Les interviewed dozens of prospective DJ’s and personalities, reviewing their resumes, listening to their stories and having them read selected radio promos.
“So what do you think?”, Johnny asked his associates as yet another failed candidiate left the room.
“I think we’re in big trouble”, Bailey said. “All of these people and none of them stand out as original or unique.”
“Well, there was the guy in the white suit with the red face?”, Les noted.
“Brother Love?”, Johnny smirked. “All he did was kept saying ‘I loooovveee you’ to everyone.”
“Well, he certainly is unique”, Jennifer remarked.
“How did they hire you and Venus?”, Bailey asked Johnny.
“Well, I came in after a run in Phoenix”, Johnny said. “And I was burnt out and couldn’t get a job because of the booger incident.”
“The booger incident?”, Bailey asked.
“Johnny was fired for saying the word booger on the air”, Les noted.
“Wow. That is so lame”, Bailey smiled.
“Anyhow, I applied at WKRP and Mr. Carlson decided to hire me”, Johnny finished.
“Johnny was the only one who would work for the money being offered”, Jennifer smiled.
“How about Venus?”, Bailey asked.
“He just walked in off the streets and Andy hired him”, Johnny said.
“Andy wanted to change the format from classical to rock and he saw Venus as a way to make the change more dramatic and telling”, Jennifer added.
“It was dramatic all right”, Les said. “Johnny scratched the classical album playing and said booger on the air. And Venus… a black man… took over the evening spot. That had never been done in Cincinnatti before.”
“And now, here we are again, trying to recreate the magic and find some new talent to take us into the twenty-first century”, Bailey said.
“Here here”, Johnny said. “Now shall we call in the next auditioner?”
“Let’s forget about that”, Bailey said. “I want to do what Andy did. And Mr. Carlson did. The next person that comes in that door, if he has any personality at all, is the one we hire. And the one after that as well.”
“Don’t get all crazy”, Johnny said. “Andy lucked up with Venus. It’s a different world now.”
“Well, maybe we’ll get lucky too?”, Bailey said.
Johnny just shrugged.
“Whatever you say”, he said. “Send in the next applicant.”
In walked a huge mountain of a man, weighing at least 450lbs, dressed in leather with a sub sandwhich in his hands, and also in his mouth.
“Y’all ready to see me”, he mumbled, pieces of meat and lettuce falling from his mouth as he spoke.
“Johnny”, Bailey said.
“Yes”, Johnny said with a smirk.
“Everything I said earlier”, Bailey frowned. “Forget it!”
And so Bailey, Jennifer, Johnny and Les sat through dozen more applicants, each one worse than the one before
“I hope this ends soon”, Johnny sighed.
“Remind me the next time you call me, Johnny”, Jennifer said. “To not answer!”
“I won’t call you again, Jennifer. I’m sorry”, Johnny said.
“Oh yes you will”, Jennifer smiled. “And I’ll probably still answer!”
“Pipe down, you two”, Les interjected. “This one looks pretty good!”
The three turned and joined Bailey as they watched a middle-aged man with greasy, slicked back hair doing a mock promo, fifties style.”
After he finished, Bailey went up and thanked him for his time and told him that they’d be in touch if they needed to contract him.
“Is that the last one?”, Jennifer asked.
“Looks like it”, Les said as he looked at a clipboard.
“Thank God!”, Johnny said.
“So what do you guys think?”, Bailey asked. “Any possible fututre DJ’s for KRP?”
Les, Jennifer and Johnny all looked at each other.
“Nope”, Johnny said.
“No”, Les said.
“I don’t think so”, Jennifer remarked.
“I don’t think so either”, Bailey sighed. “We just wasted an entire afternoon.”
“It wasn’t a total waste”, Les smiled.
“Yes, at least we know what not to be looking for”, Jennifer smiled.
“What am I going to tell Andy?”, Bailey sighed once more.
Johnny’s cell phone rang and Johnny looked at the caller ID.
“Better think of something to say fast because it’s Andy on the phone”, Johnny said.
Bailey sighed as she took the phone from Johnny.
“Andy? Yes, we’re done. And we looked at a lot of applicants”, Bailey said as she conversed with Andy Travis on the phone.
“Yeah, it was a zoo”, Bailey admitted. “Okay, we’ll be there in a an hour”, she said as she clicked the phone off.
“Andy wants us to come back to the studio”, Bailey told her co-workers. “He said he has a surprise for us.”
“Probably just wants to ridicule us for this whole fiasco in trying to find some new talent”, Johnny said.
“Andy wouldn’t do that”, Jennifer said.
“Yes he would”, Bailey and Johnny said at the same time.
“Well, let’s go back to the office and get ridiculed”, Jennifer smiled.
A short time later, Jennifer, Johnny, Les and Bailey walked into the lobby at WKRP.
“I’m going to go check on my staff”, Les said. “There may have been some breaking news while we were away.”
“You just don’t want to face Travis”, Johnny said.
“You’re right, Johnny”, Les smiled. “I don’t!”
“Are you leaving too, Jennifer?”, Bailey asked. “You don’t have to stay.”
“I know”, Jennifer smiled. “But I haven’t spoken to Andy in a while and I was with you at the auditions. I’m not going to abandon you.”
“You guys ready?”, Bailey asked.
“Ready”, Johnny said.
And with those words, they walked to Andy’s office. Bailey knocked on the door.
“Come on in”, Andy said.
Bailey, Johnny and Jennifer walked into the office.
“Hi guys”, Andy smiled. “Hi Jennifer!”
“Hello Andy”, Jennifer smiled at the station manager.
“So how did the open auditions for on-air talent go?”, Andy asked.
“Well, we found some interesting prospects”, Bailey started to say, but Johnny interupted her.
“It was a total zoo”, he said. “Most of those people, and I use that term loosely, shouldn’t be allowed out in public, much less on the public airways.”
“Was it that bad?”, Andy asked.
“It was a disaster”, Bailey admitted.
“What do you think about it, Jennifer?”, Andy asked.
“Bailey and Johnny tried their best, but the people that turned out for those auditions were the very dredge of society”, Jennifer said. “They even frightened me.”
“I doubt that”, Andy smiled. “But don’t worry about it guys. You tried and did your best.”
“But you were right, Andy”, Bailey admitted. “Open auditions do bring out the crazies.”
“What was that, Bailey?”, Andy asked.
“I said that you were right”, Bailey said through gritted teeth.
“Say what?”, Andy asked.
“I said that you were right, damn it!”, Bailey snapped.
“So what are we going to do now?”, Johnny asked, trying to dispel the tension in the room.
“Well, I hired someone”, Andy smiled.
“You hired someone?”, Bailey asked.
“Two someone’s actually”, Andy smiled.
“What was the point of us having those auditions if you hired someone?”, Johnny asked.
“Well”, Andy smiled. “You guys distracted the crazies so I could interview the serious candidiates.”
“You threw us under the bus so you could hire someone without the distractions?”, Bailey asked.
“Yep!”, Andy laughed.
“Why man, why?”, Johnny asked.
“Because Bailey wanted to go the open audition route”, Andy smiled. “And I knew you could handle it!”
“Just barely”, Johnny said.
“That was a dirty trick, Andy”, Jennifer said.
“Come on”, Andy said. “It wasn’t that bad!”
“Apologize to Johnny and Bailey”, Jennifer said, staring hard at Andy.
“What?”, Andy said.
“I said apologize”, Jennifer said.
“I’m sorry”, Andy said.
“And…”, Jennifer said.
“I shouldn’t have had you guys do that open audition when I already had interviews set up”, Andy finished.
“Well, maybe I should have listened when you said it was a bad idea”, Bailey started to say, but Johnny stopped her.
“He apologized Bailey. Be quiet!”, Johnny said, putting his hand over Bailey’s mouth.
“So when do we get to meet these new people you hired Andy?”, Jennifer asked.
“RIght now, if you’d like”, Andy said. “I’ve got Herb giving them a tour of the station and they should be finishing up pretty soon.”
“You’ve got Herb giving them a tour?”, Johnny asked.
“Well, I didn’t want to listen to his new sales pitch for Red Wigglers”, Andy said. “So I asked him to do that instead.”
“Are you sure they’ll stick around?”, Johnny asked. “After all, you did send them off alone… with Herb.”
“They’ll be fine”, Andy smiled.
And then, suddenly Andy jumped up from his seat and ran out the door.
“I’ll be right back”, he said as he flew out of the room.
“I just hope he hired someone good”, Bailey said.
“I’m sure he did”, Jennifer said. “Andy has a good eye for talent.”
“He hired Venus”, Johnny noted. “And he hired you, Bailey.”
“That was Mr. Carlson that hired me”, Bailey said.
“But Andy was the program director. He had some say in the matter”, Johnny said.
“Both Andy and Mr. Carlson immediately liked Bailey”, Jennifer remembered. “And they made a great choice.”
“Thank you Jennifer”, Bailey said.
“I wonder who he found?”, Johnny wondered, scratching his head. “After all, it isn’t like this is one of the major stations.”
“We get good ratings”, Bailey noted.
“Yeah, but we’re not considered one of the top market stations. Compared to WPIG and some of the other stations, we’re still considered second rate”, Johnny said.
“WKRP has never been second rate”, Jennifer said. “While we may not be quite as big as some of the other stations, this station has always been a top notch classy operation and I would not work anywhere else.”
“You inherited millions of dollars. You don’t have to work”, Johnny said to Jennifer.
“Be that as it may”, Jennifer smiled, “if I did have to work again, this station… with these people… you and Bailey, Andy, Venus, Les…”
“Herb”, Johnny interjected.
“Yes, even Herb”, Jennifer said. “This is more than a station. It’s a family. And while we may not be as big or successful as some of those other stations, we are and will always be number one.”
“Well said”, Bailey said.
“Here comes Andy”, Johnny said as they heard footsteps and a large amout of apologizing from outside the office door.
The door opened and in stepped Andy, followed by two men. One was wearing a pair of slacks and a white button up shirt, black hair with touches of gray surrounding his otherwise boyish face. The other was wearing jeans and a sleeveless t-shirt that said “Die Yuppie Scum” on the front. He was short and skinny with long black, somewhat bushy hair on his head and a wicked, but endearing look on his face.
“That’s.. that’s… “, Johnny started stammering.
“These are our two new DJ’s”, Andy smiled. “This is Paul and this is Alice.”
“Wow!”, Bailey stuttered.
“But you have to keep that Herb chap away from us or the deals off”, Paul stated.
“You’re… you’re…”, Johnny kept tying to spit out to no avail.
“Hi”, Jennifer said. “I’m Jennifer.”
“Wow!”, Paul and Alice said at the same time.
“Do you know who this is?”, Johnny kept stuttering as he turned and asked Andy.
“Johnny Fever”, Alice smiled. “I’ve been a fan for a long time.”
“You’re a fan… of mine? You must really be insane”, Johnny sighed. “Thanks!”
“Yes Johnny, I know who this is”, Andy smiled. “Two old friends of mine.”
“Looks like some wild times are in store for the fans here in Cincinnati”, Johnny said.
“Not too wild”, Paul said. “After all, we not spring chickens any more.”
“And we’re both family men”, Alice noted.
“But I’m sure that we can work it out”, Paul quipped.
“Well, welcome to WKRP”, Bailey said as she shook the hands of the two men.
“Thanks, luv”, Paul smiled.
“Is there a golf course near here?”, Alice asked.
“Of course”, Jennifer smiled. “I own it!”
“You do?”, Alice asked.
“You do?”, Andy, Bailey and Johnny asked.
“It’s a tax write-off”, Jennifer smiled. “And besides, I like golf!”
“I’m going to like it here”, Alice smiled.
“So you won’t be saying welcome to my nightmare”, Paul quipped once more.
“Give it up, Paul”, Alice smirked. “Quit looking like a fool on the hill!”
Paul just grinned.
“Well, let’s go finish our paperwork and get you two settled in”, Andy said. “Guys, if you’ll excuse us.”
“I have to go do a show” Johnny said.
“And I’ve got to go do… something”, Bailey said.
“Nice meeting you”, Paul smiled. Alice just waved.
“I’ll leave the phone number and address for the golf course with the receptionist”, Jennifer smiled.
“Thanks”, Alice said.
Jennifer, Johnny and Bailey walked out of the office, closing the door behind them.
Once they reached the lobby, Johnny turned to Bailey and Jennifer.
“Do you know who that was?”, he said excitedly.
“Yes”, Jennifer smiled. “We know!”
“I knew that Andy knew people, but this is amazing”, Bailey said.
“Not amazing”, Jennifer smiled.
“Not amazing?”, Johnny asked. “Then what would you call it, Jennifer?”
“Just another day at WKRP in Cincinnati”, Jennifer smiled.
Suddenly, Herb came running into the lobby.
“If you see Les, you haven’t seen me”, Herb said.
“What did you do, Herb?”, Bailey asked.
“I kind of… melted his Golden Sow award”, Herb said quietly.
“You did what?”, Bailey asked.
“Oh my”, Jennifer said.
“I melted his Golden Sow award”, Herb said. “I was making some candles and…”
“What happened to my Golden Sow”, Les shouted from the other room. “Herb!”
“Gotta run”, Herb said as he ran away, quickly fleeing the scene.
“Yep”, Johnny said. “Just another day at WKRP in Cincinnati.”
THE END… (?)