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The Radio Glee Club

Saluting Great Jingles

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When I was starting out in Radio I had certain concepts - or misconceptions - about what was important. I was pretty sure everyone on the radio had to have a fake name and I was also almost positive that you weren't really "in radio" until you had a jingle with your fake name being sung.

Yes, this was a long time ago during a period often referred to by radio historians as "Radio, B.C." (Before Computers).

I make that distinction because before computers and software became so sophisticated, there were more humans working in radio and less, well, computers assigned to playing back voice-tracks based on a software-scheduled music hour. More humans on-air necessitated the need for more jingles.

During Radio, B.C. early studio-dwelling creatures called "deejays" roamed the Earth from city-to-city spouting out times and temperatures in between tunes and twin-spins. These often hairy and unshaven beings went by many pseudonyms including: "Charlie Tuna," "Wolfman Jack," and "Machine Gun Kelly," just to name a few.

All of these early radio individuals had two things in common: their names were fake (but memorable) and they all had one or more customized jingles carefully constructed in a Dallas sound studio by a klatch of perfectly-pitched men and women who sang in three-part harmony tighter than a meat dress fastened onto Lady Ga Ga.

The original Radio Glee Club existed within the studios and offices of legendary jingle companies like PAM, JAM Creative Services, TM Studios and others. In my eyes, the day you graduated from your college public FM station into the real world of broadcasting was the day you received a reel-to-reel tape inside a package with a Dallas postmark containing a recording of your fake name sung by a chorus of memorable voice artists.

I adopted my first fake radio name while learning radio at Kent State University. I was given a couple of mornings each week to do a two-hour show. I pondered long and hard on who I should be. I was absolutely certain my fake name would help to map out the rest of my career. Finally, I came up with it: "Shane Harrison."

Stupid, right?

Yeah, I later thought so, too. After using it for a few months I eventually dropped it and reverted back to my real name. Oddly, nobody threw me out of radio. But, even though I let go of the idea that everyone in radio had to have a fake name, I did not dismiss the importance of having your name sung in a jingle.

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