In these Radiowaves-exclusive articles, legendary presenter Pat Courtenay shares his views, ideas, experience, and tips with our visitors…
In this week’s column he talks about name-jingles
I’ve always hated name-jingles. Whenever a station would get a batch made for everyone, I’d say, “Not for me, thanks. Do you walk around the town with a little choir behind you to sing your name when you go in the pub? Do you have a bloke with a cigar-voice and his finger in his ear to growl your name over your shoulder to someone you’ve just met? No. You introduce yourself, with your own voice.” Then I’d take it a stage further and question the need for jingles of any kind at all.
And I was wrong.
In the main, I’d still regard name-jingles, whether sung or growled, as unnecessary. (I’ll never forget some Sunshine Radio ones done by that Canadian in England, who cancerously introduced Dublin to David De-nay and Pay Cour-tay-ney.) However, a high-profile Show or performer can not only get away with them but benefit by them as long as their function is to reflect and enhance the personality of the Show.
Personal and Show Ids have become wonderful, crazy little works of Production art, with clips from movies, famous voices used out of context and all manner of things that go crash in the night, and as long as you’ve got plenty of them to avoid repetition, they’re cool.
When I first started in The Business, I’d sit in a Production Studio late at night making my own little epics with guitar riffs, explosions, suspect bodily noises and anything else I could steal or manufacture: these days some stations will employ someone whose sole function is to make trailers about the Breakfast Show. It’s big business and why? Because it’s theatre. 20th Century Fox has the searchlights; MGM has the lion. Would we watch TV News if it looked like a Finnish talk-show? Do we enjoy a Radio Show when it has impossible characters wandering in and out and mad sketches creating mental (very mental!) pictures? It’s like talking over intros: not only does research keep showing that the punters really don’t mind it within reason, but the big point is, Radio is different! Doncha love it when you hear a good jock with a sense of rhythm surfing on an intro he or she obviously loves? and doncha share their pleasure when they come leaping off the outro, obviously enjoying the music, the day and the fact that you’re there listening? (Note: that’s a good time to tell people your name too – when you’re naturally up!)
What I do think we could lose altogether is the alleged vox-pops that want us to believe they’re not the Sales Manager saying contrived things about Better Music and Less Talk. Apart from that, go for it! Enjoy sound! Make your own, play them on the Radio then play them to the PD! (It’s always easier to ask forgiveness than to gain permission.) Make them appropriate though: I once heard a guy in New Zealand called Gordon Henderson on his first night on a rocker. He’d made a show-starter that took an ancient, screaming intro that went, “I am the God of Hell-fire! And I bring you….” followed by a v/o deep enough to crack your fillings, saying, “Gordon Henderson,” which Gordo followed in his own decidedly effeminate, light voice saying, “How do you like it ssso far?”
Dressing-up is fun, but wear the right stuff.