Radio Replay is a random pop-up series that takes look back at a Recommended or Hitchhiker Station from the past.
Three years ago, I brought JingleMad Radio based in the UK to light. Within seconds of my first listen I knew this was a Hitchhiker Station. JingleMad plays nothing but radio station jingles. You know, the upbeat music that promotes a radio station’s all-important call letters. JingleMad doesn’t play songs or commercials, just jingles…sixty-six jingles per hour to be precise. Even JingleMad Radio has its own jingle. There’s also jingle montages where multiple variations of the same station jingle play back-to-back. The stream also includes each station’s name in the metadata in case you cannot figure it out from the jingle (unlikely). Some of the jingles are quite creative and funny like, “Get your feet on the floor, get your butt out the door.” Having worked in radio broadcasting, I developed a perverse fascination with this station.
Some of the radio jingles on JingleMad Radio are very short while others run surprisingly long. Some are very upbeat and others are more subdued depending on the station’s format. Regardless, most of the jingles you hear on JingleMad were professionally produced by a jingle company like JAM, Pams, ReelWorld, Zone Radio Imaging, Ignite Jingles, S2Blue, David Arnold, Brandy, Bespoke Music, Sharpsell London, or Murfin Media.
Here’s one of JingleMad Radio’s “clock” (a radio term):
:00 Single Jingle News with Stuart Clarkson
:01 Top of hour jingle
:02 JingleMad JingleMix – 66 jingles in a row!
:17 Demonstration time – jingle demo
:30 Another 66 jingles in a row!
:45 JingleMad jingle montages – user created montages
:59 News intro
In addition to the jingles, you’ll also hear “shouts”, but “ShoutMad Radio” doesn’t have quite the same appeal. A “shout” is radio parlance for a recording by a group of singers who “shout” the DJs name usually followed by the station jingle. Shouts are played by stations in between songs or at the end of a commercial break before going back to the music. When I was a DJ at adult contemporary station WLNH-FM in New Hampshire, I had my own shout. It made me feel important even though I wasn’t. I was a little fish in a little pond. I have my shout recorded on my WLNH air check cassette somewhere in a box in my basement. It’s a bit sad that my nearly 7 years in radio are represented on the single side of a cassette tape stored in a box in my basement.
Be that as it may, I reached out to Roy Martin, founder and President of JingleMad Radio, to get the story behind this Hitchhiker Station:
Peter: When did JingleMad Radio first begin streaming?
Roy: The service was conceived at the end of 2011 and went into testing mode in January 2012. 10 years on and we are still officially in Beta mode!
Peter: What was the idea behind JingleMad?
Roy: On the basis that there is a radio station for pretty much any interest or theme these days, I figured it would be fun to see if I could operate a radio station playing nothing but jingles from radio stations. We sought full permission from the main jingle companies, with almost all of them coming on board, giving us the OK to use their musical works.
Peter: How is JMR funded?
Roy: It’s a personal project funded by myself. It has zero running costs and only takes up a small amount of time to keep the jingles up-to-date and scheduled. Technology helps save much time, and we’ve called on favours from playout companies and streaming providers to make it more worthwhile!
Peter: How many station jingles do you have in your library?
Roy: As of today, we have almost 12,000 individual pieces of audio on rotation. We start each hour with 66 jingles in a row, then into a few demos and montages before returning to non-stop jingles taking us through the rest of the hour.
Peter: Where do you source the jingles from?
Roy: The majority have come from the owners of the jingles, either the companies that made them or the radio stations that bought them. We’ve also been sent many by enthusiasts and collectors, along with ‘jingle montages’ from collectors.
Peter: Do you only play jingles from UK and European radio stations?
Roy: 95% of our jingles are in English, so include all English-speaking nations. The majority come from North America and the UK.
Peter: What is the most bizarre station jingle you’ve ever played?
Roy: We’ve got a few jingles with swear words in, which we schedule ‘after the watershed’ at night. We did have one complaint made to Ofcom [UK communications regulatory agency] about one particular jingle sung many years ago which we have since dropped as it doesn’t seem appropriate these days, as with many songs sung during a different era.
Peter: What’s the most obscure jingle you’ve ever played?
Roy: We play all jingles we’re allowed to, so nothing stands out as being obscure.
Peter: Do you also run a music radio station or you just do jingles only?
Roy: JingleMad Radio is totally about the jingles. No music involved. I personally operate a couple of other radio services but these aren’t connected to JingleMad.
Peter: Are the majority of your listeners in the UK?
Roy: It’s split mostly between the UK and North America, although we are popular in Japan.
Peter: Are you working on anything new for JingleMad?
Roy: Being 10 years old we should probably look at officially launching the station! Maybe we’ll do that. But on-air, we’ll just carry on adding jingles and playing them out non-stop.
To slip in a little shameless self-promotion, earlier this year I added a custom jingle to my own Internet radio station, Wind Chime Radio. It was composed, arranged, and sung by several members of the New Randy Van Horne Singers and plays randomly.
I’ve brought you some pretty off-the-wall Hitchhiker Stations over the years, but JingleMad is one of the maddest. If you’ve got a thing for jingles, check out JingleMad Radio and jingle all the way.
Trivia: Wheaties cereal by General Mills was the first consumer product to use a commercial jingle on the radio, broadcast on Christmas Eve in 1926. In 1947, Dallas radio station KLIF-AM was one if the first stations to use a jingle to identify the station’s call letters.
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