Finn Markwardt: Jingles in radio production – from the producer’s perspective

Mastermind Production Aps

A jingle is from a phrase book the ringing sound made by a metal objects being shaken together like a bell. And bells have since old days been used to call people together whether it is the school children going to class or people gathered to important messages. The same is the important thing about a radio jingle – especially the news jingle. It is meant to tell people around the country that “now there is something important to say, so please come and listen”.

When analysing news jingles from all over the world you will find a huge similarity. The bell sound is very often present and also some “beeping” which come from the old days telegram sound and gives you the word “now”.

Another important thing is, that a news program can have both positive and negative stories after the jingle and many jingles then have a tendency to avoid clear minor or major chords.

When it comes to produce jingles I use a simple method which is an effective way of “visualizing” the feeling, tone and concept of the program you are going to work on. And it lets you be creative when still working towards the goal. Remember that music (also jingles) is all about feelings – so always ask what the music should make you feel or think!

1. First and very important is that you must know who you are working with. Most people feel they know a lot about music and you should avoid that 10 people come to your studio all with their own idea. You may think you made a compromise when discussing but mostly you will end up with something really uninteresting! So find the one in charge and agree with him/her what its about and how to progress – and don’t forget to make the wild shots.

2. Make keywords about what you are going to produce. Do not make too many, but rather make them specific. Then try to find or build some visuals that describe the feeling and identity of what you should achieve. It is often much easier to talk about pictures because they stay there when you talk about them – music is already over when you start talking!

3. Now its time to be creative, so put the keywords and visuals away, and start producing, playing, singing or how you work. It is important not to think of the keywords at this step so just try a lot of things and make many sketches.

4. Go for a walk or come again next day and try now to listen to the sketches when looking at the keywords and visuals. Do they match the music? Use them as your “judge” for what is working and what is not. Then choose one or two and work more on them.

5. Now you can present it for the one in charge and choose which one to go for. And remember that the things you present should not be too bad sounding – it is very difficult to listen to sketches if you are not trained.

6. So now you can finish your work.