Time to ditch those tired old jingles

If I’m honest I got into radio because I just loved the jingles. As a teenager  I was the anorak who recorded the jingles off the radio instead of the music – I bought music every week – but laying my hands on the jingles was near impossible back then.

Not only do I value the impact of jingles in setting the tone and excitement of radio shows, I really appreciate the work that goes into making them – particularly the post production to ensure they cut through and have impact on the listener (the same goes for radio commercials).

Now, a huge number of iconic radio jingles were made in the 50s, 60s and 70s by the likes of Ben Friedman, Pams and Jams etc. We all know them, and jingle collectors lap them up.

But I question why they are used by some radio stations, even those stations playing music from decades long past.

Yes, these old close-harmony jingles of the 1960s and 70s offer a sense of nostalgia – for those heading toward pensionable age – but for the rest of us they just sound dated and tired. They are now cliches, and so common that they have lost their appeal and power.

My thinking is that just because a broadcaster plays music of a particular decade it doesn’t mean it should play vintage jingles.

To make a station sound current it’s fine to use modern and fresh jingles between the oldies. It sends a subtle signal to listeners that:  ‘hey, we’re playing the classics, but we are not old school’.

And of course, the commercials will sound modern, so playing contemporary jingles won’t sound out of place.

Bottom line; play the oldies from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s by all means. But keep your station sounding fresh with contemporary jingles.

There’s only two stations I can think of that have any excuse to play jingles made 50 years ago – former pirates Radio Caroline and Radio London (Big L). Otherwise, leave the vintage jingles and those old hackneyed phrases where they belong.