High demand for a
product always brings about more competition, and competition
breeds experimentation as suppliers try to develop something
different to offer their customers.
In the 60s and early 70s there was a tremendous demand for ID
jingles so the many suppliers of the day did everything they
could to differentiate their products. At that time, these were
some of the active jingle producers: CRC, JAM, PAMS, TM, Century
21, Gwinsound, Spot Productions, Pepper Tanner, Anita Kerr,
Blore, Drake-Chenault, Jodie Lyons, Musicreations, Atwood
Richards, Parma Productions, Totalsound, Futursonic, and many
more. Radio stations were open to new ideas while focus groups
and consultants had not yet taken over the creative side of
Among the many great innovations were a number of less
successful attempts at ID concepts, and in the history of the
jingle industry these can be quite instructional to people like
me. And hopefully to people like you. Thanks to Ted Tatman and
this site, we present for you now some of the more unusual
jingle concepts of that era.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
In the history of
radio jingles there were some odd experiments, but perhaps none
odder than these, written, produced and recorded in Miami,
Florida. As far as I know, no other IDs were made in that city
in an era when New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Memphis had a
lock on the market.
In the late 1950s and early 60s, the space race was on between
Russia and the United States. And to capitalize on this new era
of the first satellites, Todd Storz of Storz Broadcasting hired
an arranger named Lon Norman to come up with a jingle package
called Satellite Radio.
In spite of the fact that the vocals were rather poorly
executed, these ran on all six of the Storz AM stations: WQAM,
KOMA, WHB, KXOK, WTIX and WDGY.
We are presenting two tapes that have been digitally restored
for this site. One represents the entire package for WQAM,
Miami. The other describes how and why the jingles were recorded
and how wonderful they are. Itís a real collectorís item.
Mitch Miller is
long forgotten, but in the late 1950s and 1960s he was a
successful producer at Columbia Records, one of the leading
labels. Miller was strongly anti-rock 'n roll, but popular
nonetheless with an odd TV show, "Sing Along with Mitch." This
program featured a male chorus conducted by Miller on camera,
singing corny versions of popular tunes.
CRC, a jingle
company during that era, cashed in on the "sing-along" craze
with a jingle package sung in New York, and heard on WABC, among
other stations. Hard to imagine that something like this would
sound appropriate in any era given how dated it sounds today.
But that is why we are bringing it to you, to capture a moment
Broadcast System has now been replaced by EAS, but back in the
day radio stations had to interrupt their programming for this
boring exercise twice a month. A monotonic announcer intoned the
same script each time: "If this had been an actual emergency,
you would have been instructed where to tune in your area for
news and official information. This is only a test."
TM produced a sung
version, which was a novelty at first, but then deemed not
serious enough for the situation. Talk about awkward lyrics to
cram into a jingle!
Sande and Greene
was a Los Angeles-based jingle company that produced jingles for
many large-market stations from the late 50s through the early
70s. Two of its big clients included WNEW(AM), New York and
KFWB(AM), Los Angeles. Because the company used some of the top
singers and musicians in the country its packages were not
Here you can audition one of its lesser efforts for WXYZ(AM) in
Detroit. The "Zing" theme may have come from "Zing Went the
Strings of My Heart," a pop tune that goes back to the 1930s.
Good Feelings and
Good Feelings II were both released by TM in the early 1970s.
Tom Merriman wrote the first in the style of Dick Hamilton, a
Los Angeles producer. Merriman even used the west coast-based
Ron Hicklin Singers. Hamilton himself wrote the follow-up
package and most people believe he over-did the cuteness a
little bit. Volume II was not a big seller.
There was a
short-lived fad in the early 1970s that looked good on paper but
was a disaster at the radio station level, mostly because it was
too complicated, expensive and just not worth the effort. The
concept was to closely match the jingles to hit records by
recording multiple versions of the IDs in each of the musical
keys. To make matters worse, the jingle producers also tried to
provide a slow and fast version of each musical key for a total
of about 30 jingles that all sounded the same.
For the singers and engineers, these were horribly boring
because in those pre-digital days the vocal group had to sing
each jingle individually. While the jingle companies tried to
help, program directors were usually on their own trying to
figure out which jingle would best suit each record. What a
TM was the first out of the box with Interkey, known as "In
Turkey" to its employees. Shortly thereafter Century 21 (which
would later merge with TM) released Chromakey, which served the
same function. If done well, the concept of matching keys of the
jingles to the songs worked smoothly, but done wrong it sounded
PAMS did a lot of
experimentation and often it paid off. One idea that didnít was
Sublends (done for KLIF) and Articupellas (created for KHJ). Someone
-- often Jon Wolfert, probably against his
will -- would use the Sonovox during the introduction to a hit
record to add call letters shortly before the opening vocal. The
results weren't pretty.
Joey Reynolds was
a top-40 jock who smoothly made the transition to talk radio.
Back in 1972 he fancied himself a jingle impresario, and since
his family name is "Pinto," he named one of his packages after
When I was a boy
program director at WOHO in the early 70s, our music director
walked into my office bringing me a 33 1/3 RPM record that was
the size of a 45 RPM record. He was puzzled because rather than
containing a song for him to evaluate, it contained in his
words, "a bunch of goofy sounding jingles."
I went into the
production room and transferred it to a reel as I listened to it
for myself, and the music director was correct! These jingles
were so strange I didnít know what to make of them. They were
produced by a company of which I had never heard, and whose name
I failed to write down. The jingles, produced for KRLA, sounded
as if a program director gave this assignment to a rock band
that had never heard a jingle before.
reasons I saved this demo for the last 45 years and have
lovingly restored it using Izotope RX-5 audio software to remove
vinyl artifacts, background noise and drop-outs. This exhibit is
presented as another page in the jingle history book, to be
filed under "oddity."
elsewhere, after the collapse of the original incarnation of
PAMS in 1978 (it was resurrected successfully by Jon Wolfert in
1997), Bill Meeks continued to record jingle packages under a
variety of company names. This oddity, "Boss of the Beach," was
one such set of jingles. Meeks brought back a phrase first used
in series 16 and later in series 27, "time to turn so you donít