As a pre-emptive measure against my writing any more "WKRP in Cincinnati" posts, I will point out that there actually is a book on the series: "America's Favorite Radio Station: WKRP in Cincinnati" by Michael B. Kassel. Kassel interviewed many key people from the show -- Hugh Wilson of course; some of his staff writers; and some of the actors -- and does a pretty good job of collecting most of the key anecdotes about it, from the incomprehensible theme song to the network's bizarre treatment of the show (changing its time slot every couple of months).
The book is not perfect; it's clumsily written at times and doesn't have a lot to say about exactly why a show that sort of had second-tier status at the time (MTM didn't like it much; CBS pretty much hated it; "Taxi" beat it every single year at the Emmys) somehow wound up becoming a cult sensation, to the point that people like me can't stop talking about it. What does this show have that makes it so fondly remembered, not in a "cheesy nostalgia" way but a "that was a really great show" way? I have my own theories, some of which I've dealt with in earlier posts, plus an additional theory that it gets a boost from its quite phenomenal popularity with radio-industry people (sort of like how "The Dick Van Dyke Show" for a long time was like a shrine for aspiring TV comedy writers). Kassel doesn't really illuminate what set "WKRP" apart, but he certainly does a good job of providing the details of what it was and how it came to be.
One thing the book confirms is that it was Blake Hunter (a writer who was there for the whole run of the show) who was responsible for "WKRP"'s unusual degree of episode-to-episode continuity. Hunter says in the book that he kept notes of every character detail mentioned in a script -- what kind of car the character drives, family issues, previous jobs he or she held -- and made sure that these details were kept consistent in every subsequent episode: so that, for example, in one episode Herb mentions offhand that he's going to buy a Cordoba (with fine Corinthian leather!), and in an episode a year later he mentions that he is, in fact, driving a Cordoba. Hunter was enough of a continuity obsessive that the last script he wrote for "WKRP" was an attempt to resolve the continuity issues with the Venus Flytrap character: the whole episode is an extended retcon that might strike even a sci-fi fan as a little geeky (and I mean that in a good way; it's a great episode). WKRP's final season also had several story threads that ran through nearly the entire season, which was fairly unusual for a non-soapy television show at the time.
All that geeky continuity stuff may help to explain why WKRP fans can be as obsessive as fans of a science-fiction show: because if you watch enough episodes you start spotting the cross-references and the little biographical details that the characters drop about themselves (there are several "WKRP" characters for whom you could piece together an entire coherent back-story based solely on the "throwaway" jokes, especially Jennifer), and you sort of feel like the show is creating a world. "Barney Miller" did that too to a certain extent, and "Soap" did, but other ensemble shows didn't; M*A*S*H, for example, had real trouble keeping details straight from episode to expisode, let alone season to season. And there's my last attempt at trying to explain why I'm a "WKRP" fanboy, whereas with most shows I'm just a fan.
And that will be all I'll write about that show until such time as the damn music issues are worked out and it can be released to the public again. I still think it could be done, at a reasonable cost, if the essential songs were retained but music changes were made in spots where the audience wouldn't notice (like five-second snippets at the beginning or end of a scene, or background music that isn't clearly heard). Oh, well. Here's hoping Fox's music people eventually see it that way.
Until then, at least I managed to get the complete "Frog Story" episode onto YouTube.
Addendum: I also uploaded my single favourite "WKRP" joke, from the episode "Carlson For President."