Johnny, who was fired from another radio station for saying "booger" on the air, gets one in the first episode when he's told he no longer has to follow the "beautiful music" format, and "you can say booger if you want to." In response, he develops the personality of "Dr. Johnny Fever" on the spot, and interrupts the rock song he just started playing with "And I almost forgot, fellow babies...BOOGERRRRRRRR!"
With his quiet, folksy personality intact and armed only with the lyrics to John Lennon's "Imagine", Arthur Carlson, generally known for being spineless, managed to reveal the hypocrisy of Richard Paul's anti-rock televangelist. Dr. Bob, a Jerry Falwell clone, was trying to strong-arm the station into banning songs that were on his religious-right organization's blacklist. He seems to object mostly to the obscene or sexual content. Dr. Bob boasted that his organization was made of millions of people who could boycott the station, and stated that the list was created by a group of religious leaders, not just by himself, and that those leaders speak for thousands of offended listeners. Arthur Carlson gets him to read the lyrics to John Lennon's "Imagine," asking if it would be added to the Blacklist or not.
Dr. Bob: That sounds like Communism to me. If there's no heaven, no religion and I assume no God. Carlson: There's not an obscene word in here. Dr. Bob: Not the way I see it. Carlson: Go on your list? Dr. Bob: Arthur, this is typical of the kind of secular liberal humanist point of view that gluts our airwaves. Carlson: Yeah. But we're not talking obscenities here anymore, Bob. We're talking about ideas, political, the philosophical ideas. First you censor a word and then you censor the ideas. Dr. Bob: The idea is man-centered, not God-centered. Man is an animal. The Bible tells us to put our reliance in God, not in our fellow mortals. Arthur, this song says there's no heaven. Carlson: Ah. No, it says just imagine there's no heaven. Dr. Bob: That's blasphemy. Carlson: On the list or not? Dr. Bob: I have no choice but to say on. Carlson: That decision was made by one man.
Earlier in the episode, Johnny warning of the slippery slope of letting these kind of people getting their way.
They sit there listening to the song, slower and slower, until, 'Ah, I heard a dirty word!'
The entire "Turkeys Away" episode. Fan reaction to that was so overwhelming that it convinced the network to keep the show - which was struggling in the ratings - on the air. There's a reason "Turkeys Away" was voted the greatest episode of any show, in any genre, ever broadcast in the history of television.
Bailey in a first season episode telling Herb after an episode of beratement to SHUT UP.
The episode where an old friend of Andy's comes calling... revealing that he'd been hired by Mrs. Carlson to review the station's performance without Andy's knowledge. Said friend also hints that Andy could skate on the "bad things" he's already figured about WKRP if Andy would buy his packaged-programming deal. Andy, betrayed, heads back to the station and convinces everyone there to act completely opposite of how they normally act (including Les). It works: Mrs. Carlson can't believe a word of the review... and compliments Andy on pulling it off.
Les, of all people, reveals his sure-fire pick-up line: "Hello. I'm extremely wealthy." It even works on Jennifer.
What's considered the show's finale: Mrs. Carlson arbitrarily decides to switch to an all-news format just as the station is showing a profit. Johnny, of all people, figures out what's going on: Mrs. Carlson never intended for the station to be a success, merely a failed tax write-off. He confronts her about it, pointing out that she promised her own son that he would be the manager of the top radio station in the market. Confronted with that, Mrs. Carlson relents just as Carlson shows up to insist she keep WKRP the way it is.
In "Venus and the Man", in a tour-de-force performance by Tim Reid, Venus confronts a high-school drop-out who was running with a street gang and reached out to him by taking on the challenge of teaching him the structure of the atom in two minutes, framing the lesson in street-gang politics to make it stick. A rare Aesop episode that worked without being overly sentimental.
This troper still thinks of the atom the way Venus taught it.
In "The Contest No One Could Win," Johnny misreads a press release for a music contest, broadcasting for a week about the WKRP $5,000 Giveaway, when in the prize was actually only $50.00. Despite the staff's best efforts, the prize is easily won the first day of the contest. Johnny narrowly avoids getting fired for his mistake and promises to pay the station back, starting with a down payment of $7.50. Carlson still is furious and Herb sees a way to make himself look good by turning the giveaway into a PR stunt. The next morning, the contest winner shows up at the station early to claim the prize and Herb gives over the money and the man quickly leaves. A second man shows up, also claiming to be the winner and providing ten different forms of ID, commenting "I didn't think you'd be stupid enough to hand out $5,000 without asking for identification." Herb, Les and Carlson panic, thinking they've lost another $5,000 when Johnny comes sauntering in with the briefcase containing the winnings after running into the imposter in the elevator. He hands it back to Herb commenting "That guy knows less about music than you do." He then sticks his hand out to Carlson and says, "I believe you owe me $7.50."