Short & Sweet: A Guide to Radio Jingles

Mandy Voices caught up with Mike Russell, director of musicradiocreative.com to find out more about this catchy little specialism...

How do relationships within the "jingle industry" work?

Great jingle singers are hard to find as it's a real niche skill. The talent is in being able to deliver three to five words in a short and punchy way with real power. The relationship is usually between radio station and an external radio production company that will have access to great singers and sound designers. Essentially, radio stations usually outsource all their music production needs although, saying that, it is the case that much of the voice over production and imaging is done in-house by a producer or team of producers. That means that when there's a new promo or radio presenter name there is someone on staff that can handle it.

What are the first steps in creating a jingle?

Anyone can create a jingle from the comfort of their own home now with the availability of professional audio editing software from the likes of Adobe and DigiDesign / Avid Audio, alongside great audio plugins, such as the Waves set.

Creating jingles is a real craft and I'd advise anyone interested in getting started to learn as much as they can by sitting in with a producer at their local radio station. There are also great tutorials online. I produce Adobe Audition tutorials on musicradiocreative.com and, for anyone interested in getting started with radio jingle production I've written a beginners' eBook, which is available as a PDF or for Amazon Kindle.

How do you establish the right tone?

If you're singing, I'd recommend getting some vocal training. Also, I often practice gargling water, staying off chocolate and coffee and singing the vowels of the alphabet: "A, E, I, O, U". This trick also helps you get your voice warmed up for voice over work. I practice it even though I can't sing to save my life!

Is there a formula for "catchy"?

In my mind, something is catchy if the audio stays in your head all day long, like it's playing on repeat in your brain's internal iPod! To create a truly catch jingle it requires the skills of many people. You need a talented copywriter, sound designer, musician, singers, voice overs and the audio producer who will put it all together. I often like to mastermind ideas with others before producing them as this helps to make a jingle "catchy".

Is there a certain type of voice that producers look out for when creating jingles?

Yes, I believe that some voices are more suited to commercials, others are great narrators and I, personally, work with voices who are great at delivering radio imaging and jingles. It's similar to the case with jingle singers. A great TV show narrator will not necessarily make a good radio jingle voice, over just as an opera singer may not be perfect for sung jingles. All different voices are in demand depending on the project. My recommendation to voice overs looking to break into the industry would be to find what you're passionate about voicing and target producers looking for your skill.

Mike Russell's is a radio presenter, radio producer and the founder and director of Music Radio Creative. In addition to audio production, Mike has a keen interest in internet marketing and social media. Mike is active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

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