Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Jingle Comparisons in the UK

Definitely interesting to compare how BBC Radio 1 is planning to revamp its Breakfast Show jingles at the end of September when Nick Grimshaw takes over the slot, and the approach taken by the sister station, BBC Radio Two. 

In the case of BBC Radio 1, it looks like the era of sung jingles is definitely out for the time being. But that doesn't come as a surprise to me. I agree with comments on the UK Jingles website JingleMad that the challenge will be for whoever wins the bid to make the package distinctive. And they don't have much time to compose anything complicated. It looks like there's not much money put aside for station imaging.

Contrast that with BBC Radio 2.

Steve Martin (of the fantastic monthly show Earshot Creative Review) did an in depth interview with Chris Reay who is in charge of BBC Radio 2's imaging and sound design. He tells the story of how they are building on an established theme but using fresh arrangements. And that includes full orchestras (while they are still around). A great listen. Highly recommended - and nice of Chris to share not only the music but the reasoning behind it.

Reminds me of two radio programmes I made about creating jingles in 1983 and again ten years later 1993. Unashamedly for enthusiasts of station imaging and jingles, we looked at how they were made then and what programmers in the early 1980's thought they were for. There were enthusiasts like Tom Konard who made vast collections of station idents and sweepers. Some are still on line - check this reference

This show was broadcast on December 29th 1983 and I remember the recording well. Technican Pim Wijmer thought it would be a simple mix and wondered why I had booked four hours of studio time. Today, you can make the same show on a laptop using free multitrack software. In those days you had to cut and splice audio tape and cue everything with yellow leader. There was more yellow leader on those montages than tape. Fun, nonetheless. 

Notice how Jonathan Wolfert of JAMS explains that jingles always go in phases, what's hot now is out in 5 years time and then everything old becomes new again. Sometimes stations overused them and there were periods when stations hardly used them at all. Disney understands that like no other (look at how they recycle old content to new generations in a 7 year cycle. But I digress

Finally I recall making a short video during the recording of the Europarade jingles used in the Radio Netherlands show of the same name. Recently put that back on the Interwebs, though it's rather crude by today's standards.

Making Jingles in 2002 from Jonathan Marks on Vimeo.

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