Jingle Jaunts

A trawl through many classic UK radio station jingles from Robin Blamires

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Heart Attack Blogs

For any new readers, here's a selection to the various Heart Attack posts on my normal blog which inspired this spin off, following the various Global rebrands over the last 6 months.

Radio Orwell/Saxon Radio/SGR

Radio Broadland

Hereward Radio/CNFM

Chiltern Radio

Radio West/GWR


Severn Sound

Fox FM

Radio 210/210-FM

Marcher Sound


South Coast Stations
(Radio Victory, Ocean Sound,
Power FM)

Essex Radio

Southern Sound

Invicta Radio/Invicta FM

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Viking At 25

Originally posted on my normal blog back in April, here's my look back on Viking's jingles over the last 25 years.


Or maybe this would be a better way of putting it.

Yes, 25 years ago on the 17th of April 1984, Viking Radio launched onto the airwaves of East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire as the area's first commercial radio station.

The first record played after that absolutely stunning station theme was "Celebration" by Kool and The Gang and the line up at the launch included Dave Fewster, Les Smith, and Steve King who went onto become one of the senior people at the Metro Radio group who would go on to own the station.

I haven't actually been able to hear what they've been doing up in Hull this morning, but I thought it would be ideal to post a selection of their jingles from over the last quarter of a century (if that's a good way to put it).

The first jingle package was produced by Selby based company Cath Baxter Commercials and featured the familiar voices of Steve Butler and Sheila Gott who had sung on the Alfasound jingle packages, but in terms of musical clarity, these had a more fuller sound as proved by that fantastic opening theme which must have inspired Chris Moyles in some way or other.

1984 Jingles - Cath Baxter Commercials

It's quite lengthy but there are some stunners on there such as the news and sport themes, the latter being a slightly faster version of the main theme. There's also the jingle used for snow reports about 7 minutes in which in spite of being rather repetetive is actually rather comforting to listen to.

And near the end there's a slower version of the theme played at closedown.

With the station's popularity increasing, Carl Kingston decided to expand on the station sound by ordering a set of liners from US voiceover artist John Quincy.
The session can be heard here and it gives an idea to the non-radio people that it can be quite a long wounded job, although John's more or less a pro knowing how to read the lines in different manners.

1986 saw the station move from 102.7 on FM to 96.9 where it has stayed ever since. This meant a new jingle package but Cath Baxter Commercials had folded by this time although her "Christmas Line" jingle could still be heard on
Yorkshire Television well into the 90s.

The station went to Manchester based company LBS for their second jingle package which was more contemporary (for the time) and uptempo if a bit synthy.
Steve Butler was once again helping out on vocals and it wasn't too bad a package.

1986 Jingles - LBS

Notice a few dual cuts for Pennine within the selection as by this time the IBA had started to allow mergers between radio stations in order to gain more money. Viking had started to share overnight programmes with Pennine Radio in Bradford and a year later they acquired Radio Hallam in Sheffield to form the Yorkshire Radio Network.

This lead to another jingle package, this time by Alfasound that was syndicated on all three stations with versions done individually and for shared programmes.
Viking's on air melody logo changed to the same as Pennine's which they'd used since 1979 and this continued for a few years.

In 1988 they brought another jingle package following on from the same theme which had a larger and stronger selection of cuts that can be heard below.

1988 Jingles - Alfasound

Later in the year the station split frequencies with Viking Radio becoming Viking FM on 96.9. This meant a resing of the previous package as well as some new cuts that can be heard around 56 seconds in with some stunning jock IDs at about 1:30.

1988 Jingles-Viking FM - Alfasound

On 1161 (that's 'Double One Six One) AM it became Viking Gold broadcasting continuous oldies and the station brought a selection of classic PAMS jingles previously used on Radio London back in the 1960s, in the line of many local AM stations wanting to recapture the magic of the pirate stations.

1988 Jingles-Viking Gold - PAMS

May 1989 saw Radio Hallam and Pennine Radio split their frequencies and all three stations brought their first JAM package with Alfasound vocals as the Sale based company had just become the UK license for JAM Creative Productions.

The JAM jingles were from a package called "Non Stop Power" as done for WPLJ-Power 95 in New York and along with the JAM jingles were new custom cuts from Alfasound as well as resung versions of the previous package which the other stations had started using.

1989 Jingles - Alfasound/JAM Creative Productions

Listen out for the jock IDs at 0.51 with the first one being Adrian Green now known as Sandy Beech who runs top imaging company Music 4 producing the current jingles for Chris Moyles.
The other's for some fella called Jon Culshaw.

On AM they started sharing programmes with the other stations in the network under the name "Classic Gold" with further resings of PAMS jingles but I'll save them for another post about the Yorkshire stations overall.

In the early 90s the network was abandoned and Viking brought their first fully fledged JAM package which was a resing of the "KIIS 90" package as used by
Aire FM in Leeds.

There's also a couple of cuts from "Xyrock" including the news ID near the end.

1992 Jingles - JAM Creative Productions

Two years later the station returned to JAM in time for their 10th anniversary which was a fresher slightly urban sounding package containing cuts from the impressive "Northwave" package and "The Beat 92". There's also the top of the hour from "Quick Qs" as used on Key 103 in Manchester around the same time.

1994 Jingles - JAM Creative Productions

Two years later they went back again this time for a package consisting of the
"Master Mix" and "Uni-Que" packages. The former included a few rather fun soundalikes such as Ace of Base and Whitney Houston.

1996 Jingles - JAM Creative Productions

With regards to "Uni-Que" neighbouring station Lincs FM had cuts from the same package at the same time albeit with UK vocals.
Coincidentally their breakfast presenter Steve Jordan went on to join Viking around this time.

The late 90s into the early 00s saw an absence of sung jingles on Viking's airwaves, save for the ones commisioned by Breakfast presenter Simon Hirst, who being one of the biggest jingle anoraks commisioned a a couple of UK sung jingles from "The Best Show" previously used by Radio 1.

Hirsty's Morning Glory 2001

To be fair I doubt the Dallas singers would be able to give conviction to lyrics about showing your backside in a well known supermarket.

Jingles eventually returned to Viking on a fully fledged basis in 2004 with a custom package by Reelworld, which isn't reccomended for those who dislike jingles with what they percieve to be "screeching solos" and "too much echo".

2004 Jingles - Reelworld Productions

Two years later they went back to Dallas for a more tuneful custom package by TM Century with quite a few nice cuts, especially the breakfast one towards the end.
And it should be pointed out that it's a completely different Sam And Mark who presented breakfast back then as opposed to the failed pop duo/double act of two straight men.

2006 Jingles - TM Century

The jingles are currently being used nearer my neck of the woods on KMFM including that rather dodgy traffic jingle near the end.
My personal opinion is that any jingle of that type with the stations logo played on car horns is tired and tacky, with the possible exception of the one from Radio 1's 1990 custom package.

However when hearing it at 5 years old I didn't realise that it was done to the tune of the Radio 1 musical logo.

Anyway, the station had a few additional cuts in 2007 including a contest bed towards the end where you can tell whoever produced it has spent a night on Garage Band.

And that pretty much brings us up to date where in 2008 the station went to home soils for the next package as produced by Wise Buddah in London.

2008 Jingles - Wise Buddah

That more or less covers the majority of Viking's history through jingles although I'm certain that a lot of residents from the Hull area will have even stronger memories of the station.

Credit to David Hemsley, Dan James, Mark Hodgkinson, David Barras,
Dave Nightingale, and Simon Hirst.