Friday, 23 September 2016

Radio Review: 23 September

When Johnny met Jon, ident history was made

Written by Louis Barfe


In radio, presenters come and go, often brutally. The standard form is to sack the talent just after coming off-air, not allowing them to say goodbye to the listeners. Fair Louis-Barfe-colour-176enough. If you’re running a seaside rock factory, you don’t want miles and miles of libellous confectionery. The jingles that identify a radio station tend to endure better than dJs, and there was plentiful evidence of this in Johnny & Jon after 40 Years, available for listening or download above.

In this delight of a show, Stephanie Hirst spoke to former Radio 1 controller Johnny Beerling and US-based jingle genius Jon Wolfert, founder of Jam Creative Productions and creator of just about every ident and sting broadcast by Radio 1 and 2 between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s. 

Beerling ensured Kenny Everett got the credit for persuading BBC bosses that Radio 1 needed proper American jingles from pams in Dallas if it were to be accepted. Later, former Pams session singer Wolfert met Beerling in London and sold him a brilliant new sound for Radio 1.

Listening again to the jingles I grew up with and hearing the stories behind them was magical. Wolfert was pin-sharp on dates and rich in humour. ‘Any jingle we have about how hard it is to get up in the morning is completely autobiographical,’ he admitted. Beerling and Wolfert remain close friends, and despite Wolfert being in Texas, with Hirst and Beerling in Yorkshire, it sounded as though all three were in the same room. A technical triumph, but also a testament to the warmth of the conversation

At 85 minutes, this was a feast of nerdy detail. However, with a light bit of trimming, this is surely a sitter for archive on 4.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net 


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