Radio jingles have been a cornerstone of broadcast advertising for nearly a century. Studies have shown that 89% of listeners find jingles to be an effective method of promotion.
In this article, we'll explore the rich history of radio jingles, the fascinating science of making them, and how radio stations use them today.
What is a Radio Jingle?
A radio jingle, or commercial jingle, is a catchy, 10-30-second tune specifically crafted for radio broadcasting, often combined with memorable lyrics or slogans. It serves as an auditory identity (also known as a sonic ID) for a brand, designed to promote a product, service, or the radio station itself. Unlike regular songs, jingles are tailored for immediate impact, ensuring that the message is both engaging and easily retained by listeners.
The very first radio jingle can be traced all the way back to 1926. That year, the popular food brand General Mills aired their radio jingle for Wheaties on Christmas Eve with the slogan, “The best breakfast food in the land.” Shortly after airing the jingle, Wheaties became the single most popular cereal brand in America seemingly overnight.
Other Types of Radio Jingles
Radio jingles come in many forms. There are a variety of them, each one used for its own specific purpose. Some of the most common types of jingles include:
- Radio station jingles: Identify a radio station's name and brand, usually including the frequency.
- DJ drops: Introduce a radio personality, often accompanied by a slogan or catchphrase.
- Promotional jingles: Also known as “promos,” these are used to promote special events, upcoming shows, or guest appearances on the radio station.
- Public Service Announcement (PSA) jingles: Convey important community or safety messages, combining catchy music with vital information.
- Timecheck jingles: These brief interjections notify listeners of the current time, often in a musical manner that complements the station's overall vibe.
How to Make a Radio Jingle That Sells
Option 1: Create Your Own Jingle
Creating a jingle from scratch requires a blend of creativity and strategic thinking. Here are a few tips to get the most punch out of your promo.
First, aim for 10-15 seconds at most, any longer might lose the audience’s attention. Second, ensure the jingle clearly conveys your brand’s identity and caters to your target audience. Lastly, and possibly the most difficult of all, make it memorable. It doesn’t matter if the tune was recorded by a full-blown orchestra, or a noisy set of bagpipes, if it stays in people’s heads, you’ve accomplished your goal.
If you’d like to learn more about the recording process, here’s a quick tutorial that shows you how to make a radio jingle in less than one minute.
Option 2: Purchase One Online
Creating a radio jingle on your own can sometimes be challenging, and hiring a professional can be expensive. Some jingles have been known to cost up to $50,000 to produce.
If hiring help isn’t in the budget, one way to get a high-quality radio jingle is to buy a pre-made one. There are plenty of websites like Music Radio Creative that sell radio jingles online. You can even buy a jingle package that includes multiple radio jingle samples to use over time. If there’s no budget at all, there are even royalty-free music libraries like AudioJungle and Pond5 where you can download free radio jingles!
Option 3: Work with a Binnie Media Representative
Binnie Media is New England's largest locally-owned media company and reaches over 1.5 million people every week. Schedule a call with one of our team members today and learn more about how we can get you online today.
In today’s digital era, radio jingles remain an integral part of broadcast advertising. Since the 1920s, jingles have helped brands expand their reach and take on new heights of success. These short, catchy melodies continue to resonate with audiences both old and new.