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Radio Jingles And Id's

So what are Jingles?

Jingles or station Id's are short items of music sung with the name of the radio station you are listening to. It's been discovered that a musical message is often more memorable than a spoken one. Jingles are also production elements which help the overall flow of the radio station and is today called radio imaging. They can bridge tempo changes, introduce news and traffic reports, punctuate promos, and add excitement to special features. Jingles can and should be fun! Whether it's something crazy for the morning show, or a romantic sound for late night dedications, jingles are part of the "showbiz" magic of radio. Oh yeah and if you listen to jingles and collect them then you get the prestigious title of ANORAK!

Good jingles help create a unique identity that only your station will have. After all, every radio station builds its product with the same basic tools: music, information, features, on-air personalities, contests and so on. But jingles are one way to put an individual touch on a station's sound. The musical style and attitude of the jingles tell listeners what they can expect from the station. And many times a slogan or positioning statement is delivered most effectively in a musical context with a well-produced jingle. Jingles have also transferred to TV advertising and most jingle companies produce jingles for TV and radio.

This page details some of the major Jingle and ID Production Companies from around the world. Jingles are also collected for their nostalgia purposes and so there are some links to jingle collecting sites listed as well. If you want to add a site to this list feel free to drop me an e-mail. If you want to learn how jingle production packages are made then check out Jam's page here.

The TM Studios jingle singers

The TM Studios jingle singers in the studio

From L to R: Greg Clancy, Bruce Wermuth, Jeff Oxley, Carly Reign, Annagrey Weichman

What type of jingles are there?

Jinges are designed to do many jobs and help the presenter get from one element of a show to another. They help introduce features and also help with smooth transitioning between different styles of music as detailed below...

Accapella - just the singing without the musical bed

Donut - singing at the beginning with music in the middle and singing at the end. A presenter can use this to talk over the middle portion.

Transition slow to fast - the jingle starts off with a slow tempo then changes halfway through to a fast tempo. Used to go from one tempo song to another.

Transition fast to slow - the jingle starts off fast then changes halfway through to a slow tempo. Used to go from one tempo song to another.

Bed - Instrumental musical piece used by a presenter to talk over.

Stab - short cut down version of a jingle usually only a couple of seconds long.

Sweeper - usually a voice and sound effects mixed together and used to transition between two songs.

How did Jingle cart machines work?

Jingles used to be played on the beloved cart machines like this Sonifex Micro HS. Cart machines have now been superseded by computer playout systems.

Sonifex Micro HS Cart Machine

This picture below shows an overview of an 'Audiopak AA3 Cart' with its inner wheel and continuous reel of tape looped around it.

A Sonifex Cart

The jingles were recorded onto carts which was a box with a continuous loop of tape that when played returned to the start ready for the next time. When a jingle was recorded onto the cart the machine placed an inaudible tone at the start which it used for cueing up the cart to the beginning again. The cue tone was too high a frequency for the human ear to pick up and so was not heard on air. Once the jingle had played the machine was set to fast forward the cart to the beginning ready to be used again. Carts had different lengths 10 seconds, 30 seconds or even longer such as 10 mins.

Jingle carts in radio studio

Radio stations had banks of carts with all the station positioning elements on such as news, weather, sport, presenter name Id's etc. Here we can see a studio with the Plessey Cart machine with the carts stacked around it in racks ready for use by the presenter. They were also colour coded and grouped under similar elements so they could be easily found if the presenter was in a rush.

Radio studio Plessey cart machine and jingle carts

Have some fun with the Radio1 Cart players

Check this BBC page out and have fun playing with the cart players and jingles Click here to visit the page

BBC radio 1 jingle art players

JAM are the leaders in the Jingle production industry

JAM has created the jingles used by WCBS-FM New York for over 20 years. From 1992 here's New York radio legend Cousin Bruce Morrow. You'll hear the station using the "Do It Again" package.

Jingle Production Companies:

Jingle Collectors:

This song was created by JAM Productions to promote their anniversary creating radio station jingles for some of the most popular stations across the world.