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Ever wonder what the 1978 WKRP in Cincinnati “Turkeys away” episode might look like in the age of social media?

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! Website analytics tell me that while this blog has readership worldwide (which is totally awesome!) 19% is from Canada and 30% is from the US. So I thought in honor of Thanksgiving stateside, I’d invite you to reflect and speculate on how an iconic WKRP in Cincinnati episode might unfold in the age of social media… At the very least, you’ll have something entertaining to discuss over the turkey dinner with family and friends!WKRPinCincinnati

Those of a certain age may well remember the “Turkeys Away” episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. If this classic piece of retro TV pre-dates you, take 5 and watch it here. I’ve cut the video to the last bit of the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf3mgmEdfwg

The scene opens with hapless correspondent Les Nesman reporting live about a helicopter dropping live turkeys from the sky. Adorned with a banner reading “Happy Thanksgiving From WKRP,” the advertising stunt quickly goes wrong as the poor birds plunge to earth like sacks of wet cement, taking out car windows and people in their path. This promotional brainchild was the creation of station manager “The Big Guy” Mr. Carlson wanting to gain recognition in the marketplace for the new formatted rock station.

sanders1stI got wondering how this episode would unfold in the age of social media…

– Less Nesman might well be reporting, but so too would the citizens of Cincinnati with their cell phones. Thousands of them, all poised to the sky snapping photos and video as the live tragedy unfolded.

– Video of turkeys hitting the deck would be posted within minutes to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube.

– Animal activists would be tagged in posts, and authorities would be on it before Les even returned to the office.

– Photos of dented cars and broken windows would be posted to Instagram and Twitter.

– There would be hashtags #TurkeyDropGoneWrong #TurkeyBombsCincinnati #HappyThanksgiving??? #WTFWKRP #SomeoneIsGettingFired

– It would quickly trend on Twitter and all Cincinnati TV, radio and print outlets would be racing for coverage.

– The TV and print coverage would fuel more interest online and folks search for photos, video and write-ups online.

–  There would be international coverage since the internet quickly spreads news of the weird to all corners of the earth.

– And of course there would be selfies. Selfies of people covered in feathers. Selfies of people pointing to damaged cars. And selfies with Les Nesman – just because.

Oh how times have changed!

So when you’re carving that turkey next Thursday and it slips off the platter and heads for the floor, just quote Mr. Carlson, and his last line of the episode, “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” Depending on the age of the guests, you’ll likely get a few laughs!

Mary Charleson

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