WEIRD JINGLES
By Ken Deutsch

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 broadcasting.

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.

Ken Deutsch
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.


Satellite Radio Presentation

Satellite Radio WQAM Jingles


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 in time.


CRC WABC Series 10


The Emergency 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!


TM EBS Test


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 cheap.

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.


WXYZ Sande and Green Custom


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.


TM Good Feelings Demo

TM Good Feelings II Demo


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 mess.
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 dreadful.


TM Interkey Demo

Century 21 Chromakey 2 Demo


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.


PAMS Sublends Demo (KLIF)

PAMS Articupellas (KHJ)


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 himself.


Joey Reynolds Mingles Demo

Joey Reynolds Pinto Demo


For more information on PAMS jingles, go to the PAMS Website.
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