Friday, October 26, 2007

The greatest 4 second hits

Everyone listens to the radio. Do you ever pay attention to the station jingles? Probably not. But in many cases they're the signature of the station and hearing them again jogs distant memories. For fun I've put together a montage of radio station jingles from the 60s-today (but mostly it's the older stuff). So hop in the Way Back Machine and relive some of your favorite 5 second songs.


Michael Bell said...


I'm geeking out! I miss jingles so freakin' much. So much of the "Show Biz" has gone out of radio.

Back in 1980, I became the PD at KAFY . The very first thing I did was dig out the Drake Package and put it back on the air.

It sounded as great in 80 as it did in the sixties.

estiv said...

That was so good. I remember when the DJ was almost at the same level as the musician, at least to the radio listener, and when each radio station had a personality, not just a format. That personality that you encountered every day became a part of your life. Now? I fear it all hath gone where the woodbine twineth.

In my hometown a DJ named Howard Edwards had a wake-up show, complete with cowbell, cheery attitude, and western accent. When I heard him do an afternoon show on a "beautiful music" station with the same name but with none of those accoutrements I was really disappointed. Which I guess means I was growing up.

By the way, I noticed the Beaver Cleaver mention in that medley. Way to go, Ken.

RAC said...

My mom worked in radio for a while in the midwest. When I was in seventh grade, we'd ask for some radio station to be piped through the intercom system while we toiled away in the science labs, sniffing various and sundry chemicals, toasting dissected frogs on the bunson burners, etc. One day, a commercial came on and I recognized my mother's voice and was absolutely mortified, felt my face turn red, and feared a major teasing by my peers. But, of course, no one else recognized my mom's radio voice, and I was spared a beating that day. Your jingles reminded me of all the crappy LPs I would win by being Caller Number Nine during my pimply years. Good times.

Will Teullive said...

That WFIL jingle took me back to a time and place when a wee lad would sit quietly in a Philadelphia kitchen while mother cooked dinner and sang along with the easy AM sounds of The Carpenters, Seals and Crofts, or Chicago..

It wasn't me, I wasn't born yet, the wee lad was my older brother Tommy, he is a midget.

My bad, I mean "little person" or "vertically challenged" whatever those little bastards are calling themselves these days.

Joey H said...

Loved the jingle sampler, Ken. It makes me want to delve into my closet of old reel-to-reel tapes with names like PAMS, TM, Pepper-Tanner, and JAM on the labels.(There's nothing like the smell of reel-to-reel tape to bring back radio memories).

You had some classic cuts and classic call letters in there.

It was great to hear Trella Hart sing to us about "good vibrations", Jim Clancy hit those low notes on the Dallas 7-voice arrangements, and Bill Drake himself promise us that "the beat goes on."


Matthew Frederick said...

I love the soprano-as-theremin effect on a lot of these. WABC seemed especially fond of that style.

Bryan Simmons said...

Wow Ken that was cool! Hey I've been looking for the KHJ "You" jingle package forever, KABC-FM too. Would love to trade for them if you've got them.

Thanks for including the KOST jingle, that was neat! I have all of the KOST jingles from 1982 through today by the way.

Great stuff, love it all!

Aramael said...

I've never heard anything so relentlessly cheerful in my entire life. Thank you! We have (or had) a similar sort of thing going on in Australia, but clearly we never raised it to the level of art one finds in the US.

Remember to wear a condom?

blogward said...

Right! I'm putting 5kW of amplification in the car, and I'm going round the 'hood playing that at full whack!

'Remember to wear a condom'??? All the time?

Smelvis said...


It sounds like many came from the same music house. Same singers?

Joey H said...

smelvis, the vast majority of radio station jingles have historically been produced in Dallas. A relatively small group of musicians and singers work free lance for the handful of companies that do most of the work. A few are on staff to one of the companies and so they are "exclusive." But, yes, you will hear the same voices in most of the jingles.

A few companies offered versions of their jingles with "west coast" singers, to please stations who didn't want the slight Texas accent.

The majority of the jingles on Ken's sampler were from the now-defunct PAMS company or the current industry leader JAM Creative Productions. JAM acquired the old PAMS music tracks and still does re-sings of those packages today.

Most packages (a series of 30-50) individual jingles) are originally commissioned by a major market station like KOST or WABC and then syndicated to other stations across the world.

Jon Delfin said...

Whew. Please, next time, give some hint as to how long it runs. And include WNEW!

Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd hear a KHJ jingle long enough to cover a DJ bathroom break. Be Boss!

Wayne from Maine said...

Thanks Ken!
As a former teenage board op, and DJ wannabe I STILL get a tear in my eye when I hear the Johnny Mann singers say: WRKOOOOO.......BOSTONNNNNN. It's like it's part of my D.N.A. now. I'm sure you have these feelings for one or two yourself

The Crutnacker said...

My MP3 player has a 22 minute collection of commercials from our local rock station of the 60s and 70s, WAKY790. Theres some cool stuff here.

Warberd said...

Makes me glad that 98.1 WOGL still has a jingle (as with most Philly stations). It's mixed in with parts of other various spots, but it's there.

I don't think I'd ever be able to listen to a station that has no jingle. It's just something I can't live without, no matter how corny they may seem. And yes, you can call me a young'un.

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how many battles I've had to keep jingles on the air. Suits seem to think it's an outdated concept.

All you gotta do is read the posts here to understnd how important they are.

Thank you Johnny Mann


Anonymous said...

Man, thanks for this post, it brings back a lot of memories. As a kid growing up in Philadelphia you were defined by the radio station you listened to, in my case it was either WFIL or Wibbage (WIBG - which I'm kinda disappointed you didn't have a jingle for) - Dick Clark vs Hy Lit (though the Geater with the Heater, The Boss with the Hot Sauce, Jerry Blavat was the best DJ in Philly at the time, though he didn't work at either station until late in his career), et al. Those stations had some great jocks and Philly radio was very influential as a rock 'n roll station)...

Anyway, thanks for the memory.

pat reeder said...

I owe my marriage to this music. I met my wife, Laura, when we were both working at TM. She grew up in Dallas instead of California because her late father was Bill Ainsworth, a legendary sax/clarinet player and arranger who plays and sings on a lot of the jingles in this montage and I'm sure arranged quite a few of them (she even remembered some of them from when she was a little girl and heard him working on them). He was held in awe among Dallas musicians for his seemingly impossible arrangements that took 30 takes to get right, but once they did, they sounded amazing.

Her dad was (we think) the youngest member ever of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, moved on to Freddy Martin's band, and backed up everyone from Tony Bennett to Ella Fitzgerald. He was living in California when Tom Merriman (later Mr. TM) started CRC and asked him to move back to Dallas to be group session leader. He held the same position at PAMS, then freelanced for TM and other Dallas jingle houses. He was a major perfectionist and cracked the whip on the vocal sessions, making the singers do it again and again until it was flawless.

Laura recognized his voice on some of the male group stuff, as well as many of the other singers, who were like family to her, such as Trella Hart and Carol Piper. Carol was the wife of jingle writer Bob Piper and the mother of Brian Piper, now a brilliant pianist/arranger/composer in his own right. He's also the music director for Laura's musical/comedy show, "My Ship Has Sailed." You can see him playing live with her on an operatic aria parody here:

Perricone Diet Aria

So many talented people used to work in radio, and they've been driven out of it by Clear Channel, et al, buying up stations, cutting budgets and homogenizing programming. Most stations are now run by bean-counters promoted out of sales and marketing. If people who knew how to entertain an audience could run stations again, young people might discover what an exciting and creative medium radio can be, the way it was when these jingles were recorded.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I was going to comment that they all sounded like they were done by the same group, and I see from some other posts that they dang near were.

And the best thing about them is that the jocks weren't talking over them. I still hate that practice!