45 Years of JAM – Highlights From the 3/29 Rock and Roll Revisited

Up Front:

The Matrix at 20: In 1999, the sci-fi thriller became an instant pop culture phenomenon and in the years since, its influence on the industry and audiences has endured. Via @TheGuardian

With Opening Day upon us: How the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings turned baseball into a national sensation. Via @TheConversation

The Former CEO of DHL Express on Leading the Company Through an Existential Crisis. You sing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” via @HarvardBiz

Want to own “The Family Truckster” from National Lampoon’s Vacation. Now you can. Via @Maxim

Shop Talk: 

WTOP “has embraced technology, moving its content to wherever the D.C. metro audience goes.” Paul Jacobs talks with long term VP/GM Joel Oxley about the secret sauce. Transferable skills no matter what you do. Via @JacobsMedia


Today in History:

1932: Jack Benny made his radio debut on Ed Sullivan’s program, uttering his first on-air spiel: ‘This is Jack Benny talking. There will be a slight pause while you say, ‘Who cares?”

1962: Jack Paar made his final appearance as host of the ‘Tonight Show’ on NBC-TV. Various guest hosts were used for the next six months until new host Johnny Carson’s arrival in October.

Arnold Zenker had his 13 days of fame as Walter Cronkite’s stand-in during an AFTRA strike in 1967.

1967: The first nationwide strike in the 30-year history of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) began. During the 13-day work stoppage, many familiar faces were absent from the TV screen, including that of Walter Cronkite of CBS News whose temporary replacement was Arnold Zenker, formerly a radio announcer in Wilmington, Delaware.

1971: A Los Angeles jury recommended the death penalty for Charles Manson and three female followers for the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. Their death sentences were later commuted to life in prison. On April 11, 2012, Manson was denied parole for the 12th time and it was determined that he would not be reconsidered for parole for another 15 years, at which time Manson would be 92 years old.

1973: The last American troops left South Vietnam.

1973: Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The group’s recording, ‘The Cover of Rolling Stone,’ reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1974: Eight Ohio National Guardsmen were indicted on charges stemming from the shooting deaths of four Kent State University students on May 4, 1970. Charges against the guardsmen were later dismissed on the basis that the prosecution’s case was too weak to warrant a trial.

1975: All six Led Zeppelin studio albums were on the Billboard 200 album chart at the same time, including their latest, ‘Physical Graffiti,’ at #1.

1978: Tina Turner was divorced from Ike Turner after 16 years of marriage and one child.

1991: U.S. Republican National Committee chairman Lee Atwater died of a brain tumor at age 40.

1992: Referring to when he had experimented with marijuana, Democratic presidential front-runner Bill Clinton said ‘I didn’t inhale and I didn’t try it again.’

1992: Actor Paul Henreid died of pneumonia at 84.

1999: At the height of the ‘dot-com bubble,’ the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 10,000 mark for the first time.

2005: Attorney Johnnie Cochran, chief defense lawyer in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, died of a brain tumor at age 67.

2006: At Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Tom Jones for his services to music.

2010: A copy of the 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1, widely considered the Holy Grail of comic books, sold at auction for a record $1.5 million. The issue features the debut of Superman.

2016: Actress Patty Duke died of sepsis after suffering a ruptured intestine at age 69.

Happy Birthday to:
(1916) Eugene McCarthy, (D), Minn sen (d. 2005)
(1918) Pearl Bailey, Jazz Singer (d. 1990)
(1939) Nancy Kwan, Hong Kong
(1940) Astrud Gilberto, Girl From Ipanema
(1948) Bud Cort, Harold & Maude
(1955) Marina Sirtis, Counselor Troi
(1956) Dianne Kay, Eight Is Enough
(1968) Lucy Lawless, Warrior Princess

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: “I never felt entitled to anything. I’m the hardest worker I know.” ~Daryl Hall


45 Years of JAM

I remember exactly where I was when I heard my first JAM Jingle package. I was program director for WATT in Cadillac, Michigan. Our last jingle package was “Shotgun Heaven” and we were only using one cut.

Like JAM founder, Jonathan Wolfert, I was a huge jingle nut. In 1971, I had the great fortune to work at the same station with Ken R. Deutsch, who would become the world’s greatest jingle collector. We swapped probably fifty pounds of Mylar on the seven inch reels that were state of the art for tape recording. Later, when Ken retired from the business, he sold me a copy of his complete jingle collection. It remains one of my most treasured possessions.

Jon and I both admired Bill Meeks and PAMS, his legendary jingle house at 4141 Office Parkway in Dallas. In college, Keener13.com co-founder Steve Schram and I had our PAMS faves, lead by “CLYDE”, a package named by Jon as an acronym for “Cool Logos You Don’t Expect”. (Demo Below)

We loved the great Tom Merriman, who’s TM productions knocked PAMS out of the box from time to time and the William B. Tanner Company, who created the “All Hits All the Time” package for the nation’s premier AM rock station, WABC – New York.

PAMS had fallen on hard times by the time I made it to WATT and our minuscule promotions budget would never have funded a jingle session.

But I could dream.

And my imagination was fired to white-hot, when JAM’s first major package, “Priority One” was released. Jon had a sixth sense for how to sell to DJs, and put the demo together like a symphony, jingle cuts flowing seamlessly into the hits with a blinding intensity that held your attention until the tape literally ran off the capstan.

Fast forward two decades. I’m now a cable guy and Steve is running the Detroit broadcast cluster that includes our beloved Keener, now WNIC. He calls to tell me that we’re going to Dallas to hang with Gary Berkowitz, Jon and Mary Wolfert and Tom Merriman.. and help produce a new jingle package for the station that purveys “Detroit’s Nicest Rock”.

Berko was and is one of the greatest radio programmers in the business. And Tom, semi-retired, was still at the top of his game. And as we entered the custom JAM studios, I felt like I was truly in heaven.

Tempus Consumit Res Creare“. That’s Latin for “It takes time to make things”. Jon is constantly reminding his clients that artistry cannot be cranked out like chocolate chip cookies. And we feel it as he and Tom pull magic out of the vocal chords of the professionals who have been singing ten second radio logos since the PAMS days. Berko reminds us that radio branding is a subtle thing. The theme is the brand and no matter how much brass or harmonization is mixed in, when the jingles hit the air, the listener must instantly identify the station’s unique sound.

This is the world that Jon and Mary Wolfert have lived for over four decades. Every station of note in the world has, at one time or another, been a JAM client. And when Sirius/XM Satellite Radio needed logos to identify their Decade channels, the first place they turned was to JAM.

45 years later, Jon and Mary are still in the game, as passionate as ever about what they do, producing fresh product that is still the Stradivarius of their field.

And Jon keeps the PAMS legacy alive, too. He bought the rights to the PAMS masters when Bill Meeks went out of business. Some of those are what you hear on Sirius/XM’s 60s on 6 oldies channel.

The 24 track Studer reels that were home to the great PAMS packages still exist, waiting for fresh lyrics, new call letters, and a new life..

On the air.

LINK: Listen to some of JAM’s latest and greatest.
LINK: Visit Jingles.com.
AIR CHECK: Scott’s Jingle Extravaganza Keener 13 Podcast from 2005.