For those of us who grew up hooked on the the sounds that came out our car radios, a jingle instantly told us that we’d found the right place on the dial.

Yup, jingles were only a small part of the overall station imaging and there were many mediocre operations that had terrific jingle packages. But to make all of the pieces come together in an harmonious whole, you had to have the right musical logos to tie it all together.

Here’s my collection: 417 disks. Just over 45,000 jingle tracks. From WLS to KHJ. From WVIC to WITL. From WPAG to WAAM. From WBZ to KDKA. From WABC to CHUM. From Great Britain to Peru.

Inside these Jewel cases you’ll find acapellas and sonovoxes, countdowns and commercials and thousands and thousands and thousands of the short audio logos that defined the brand of your favorite radio station.

Building a compelling jingle hook into just six syllables is still a niche. While Internet entrepreneurs have proliferated in the space, there are only a handful of companies that attempt it. The most storied was PAMS, the Dallas-based jingle house run by Bill Meeks. It’s successor, Jon Wolfert’s superb JAM, is still in the game, competing with the likes of Reel World Productions for the contracted marketplace.

My Jingle Collection

Fifteen years ago, I had the singular opportunity of purchasing a nearly complete copy of Ken Deutsch’s vast jingle library. Ken is legendary for being the guy who saved the PAMS masters from destruction when the company went into bankruptcy. We met in 1971 when we both worked at WPAG in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ken gave me my first reel to reel taste of jingle collecting, something that’s been my passion ever since.

From 1999 until 2004, Ken compiled pristine collections of jingles from every major production company. He sold these to aficionados around the world. He also had his own jingle company and used some of the classic PAMS tracks to create all new logos for radio stations in search of a retro feel. When Ken retired, he generously sold me a backup copy of his entire library. It’s a priceless one-of-a-kind treasury that I regularly plumb whenever I need a shot of energy from the days before iPods and the Internet, when everybody had a favorite radio station.

From 2004 through 2006, I produced a weekly podcast celebrating the station I grew up with, Dearborn’s WKNR. One of our most requested segments was a mini-documentary I produced telling the story of “How Jingles Are Made”. As part of unboxing my life during our latest move, I discovered a copy of that program. It hasn’t been in circulation for 16 years. Whether you’re a broadcaster, a musician or just someone to whom radio was the soundtrack of your life, I hope you’ll enjoy a look back at the artistry and magic that was the jingle phenomenon.

From February 19, 2005 here is a ten minute and twenty nine second immersion in the jingle jungle, our Keener Podcast Jingle Special.

From the Feed:

One opinion on how music can boost productivity. When I was a kid, it did just the opposite. Never could do homework with the radio on. Distracted by the segues, the talk ups and the execution.

An oldie but goodie on 5 ways to increase your Twitter exposure. As you read it, think about how it might transfer to your personal brand marketing.

The Internet Knows You Better Than Your Spouse Does. The traces we leave on the Web and on our digital devices can give advertisers and others surprising, and sometimes disturbing, insights into our psychology. via @ScientificAmerican

The pros and cons of perfectionism. Via @HarvardBiz

Siri and Alexa both feature female voices. Most DJs are male. Which gender is more pleasing to the ear? An oldie but goodie from @jacobsmedia.

Today in History:

1945: Billboard magazine began listing a top albums chart. The first #1 album on the chart was “The Nat King Cole Trio.

1954: A short-lived challenger to NBC-TV’s “Today” program, “The Morning Show” with host Walter Cronkite, then Jack Paar, premiered on CBS-TV.

1956: “Colonel” Tom Parker signed a management deal with Elvis Presley.

1956: The original production of the Lerner & Loewe musical “My Fair Lady,” starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews, opened at New York’s Mark Hellinger Theatre for 2,717 performances.

1964: In a civil ceremony on the 8th floor of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montréal, actor Richard Burton wed actress Elizabeth Taylor – his second marriage, her fifth. They adopted a daughter before divorcing in 1974. The couple remarried in 1975. Their second attempt at matrimony lasted less than a year.

Jimi in Life Magazine

1968: LIFE magazine called Jimi Hendrix “the most spectacular guitarist in the world.”

1971: CBS-TV announced its intention to cancel “The Ed Sullivan Show” after 23 years. At the time, it was American television’s longest-running series.

1972: Disc jockey Robert W. Morgan of Los Angeles radio station KHJ played Donny Osmond’s “Puppy Love” for 90 minutes straight. Police eventually raided the station fearing foul play, but discovered a publicity stunt instead.

1975: Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis died of myasthenia gravis at age 69.

1976: After 11 years as a 50,000-watt AM Top 40 radio giant, WCFL-Chicago, most recently called “Super CFL,” changed to a Beautiful Music format. Many of the station’s fans called it “the day the music died.”

1977: The sitcom “Eight is Enough,” starring Dick Van Patten, Diana Hyland, Grant Goodeve, Lani O’Grady, Laurie Walters, Susan Richardson, Dianne Kay, Connie Newton, Willie Aames, and Adam Rich, began its five-season run on ABC-TV. Hyland died 12 days after the first episode aired and was replaced in the second season by Betty Buckley.

1977: The TV sitcom “Three’s Company,” starring John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers, Norman Fell, and Audra Lindley, began an eight-season tenure on ABC.

1985: The first Internet domain name – symbolics.com – was registered. They could have had any name… and they chose “symbolics”??

Today’s Birthdays:

1916: Harry James, American swing-era bandleader, trumpeter and husband to Betty Grable, born in Albany, Georgia (d. 1983).
1931: D.J. Fontana (drummer for Elvis Presley) in Shreveport, Louisiana.
1932: Record producer Arif Mardin is born in Istanbul, Turkey. He works at Atlantic Records for 30 years before becoming general manager of Manhattan Records (then under the umbrella of EMI).
1933: Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg. (d.2020)
1941: Mike Love, (Beach Boys – “Fun, Fun, Fun”), born in Los Angeles, California.
1943: Sly Stone, (Sly & the Family Stone-Everyday People), born in Denton, Texas.
1946: Howard Scott (guitarist for War) is born in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles, but grows up in Compton.
1947: Ry Cooder is born in Los Angeles, California.
1947: Frank Lugo (bassist for ? & the Mysterians) is born.

Much More Music:
Today in..

1954: The Chords recorded their doo-wop composition “Sh-Boom,” covered later that year by the Crew-Cuts. “Sh-Boom” reached #2 on the Billboard R&B charts and peaked at #9 on the pop charts. It is sometimes considered to be the first doo-wop or rock ‘n’ roll record to reach the top ten on the pop charts. (Video)

1965: Freddie and the Dreamers release “I’m Telling You Now“. The British band had a brief prime from May 1963 through November 1965 with Freddie Garrity at the microphone. I remember seeing Freddie bopping around the stage when the band performed on the Ed Sullivan show and thinking that he was “a weirdo”. (Video)

1968: The Beatles release “Lady Madonna“. The song was recorded in February before the Beatles left for India. Its rhythm and blues-inspired style signalled a “back to basics” approach to writing and recording for the group following the psychedelic experimentation of the previous two years. Fats Domino, whom Paul McCartney stated was the inspiration for the song, recorded his own version later that year. (Video)

Today’s Quote Worth Re-quoting: I wish people were like Internet videos and you could tap them lightly to see a clock of how much longer they’re going to be talking.” ~unknown

One more for the road: Today in 1969, Jay and the Americans released their “Sands of Time” LP. It was loaded with covers of classic hits. “This Magic Moment“, Jay’s rendition of the 1960 Drifters’ original, became a monster hit. It spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 6 on March 1, 1969. (Video)

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Curator: Keener13.com
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit