March 2008 Offerings Of The Month:
"It's Scott and Todd! ('96 Jingle)"
Music by Edward Jerlin, Lyrics by Steve Zipman/EJ
© 1996 EJ & SZ/2008 Everlasting Arms Records & Publishing - All Rights Reserved

"Wake Up! ('97 Jingle)"
Music by Edward Jerlin, Lyrics by Steve Zipman/EJ
© 1997 EJ & SZ/2008 Everlasting Arms Records & Publishing - All Rights Reserved

Scott and Todd In The Morning

EJ's 15 minutes (okay, 90 seconds or so) of fame...

In the mid-to-late '90s, the widely-syndicated "Scott and Todd in the Morning",
hosted by radio legends Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill on WPLJ 95.5 FM radio
in New York City, conducted a "Home-made Jingle Contest" for a few years.

This is our experience with that...

When my friend Steve Zipman (who listens to WPLJ's morning show every day, has a great sense of humor and is rarely serious about anything), heard about WPLJ's home-made jingle contest in 1995, he strongly "encouraged" me to enter. In 1995, I ignored him. By 1996, there was no ignoring him.

He thought my tune "When You're In Love" would make a great jingle, so he put words to it that are relevant to the radio show. Steve, who is a great singer, was supposed to sing it, but we couldn't schedule a time to record his vocal part... which left me no option but to sing it myself at the last minute. (However, I did manage to get Steve's voice in there... heh heh... the "OWWWWW" before the instrumental section was pulled from a silly musical answering machine message Steve and I had done when we were roommates.)

After calling me and asking about my musical experience and background, WPLJ entered us in the "professional" division (there was also a "junior" and an "amateur" division), which was supposed to be reserved for people who are musicians for a living. Amazingly, we made "honorable mention" -- 3rd place -- out of hundreds of jingles! The variety of the entries impressed me. There were many entries that I enjoyed; there are a lot of talented people in New York! The winning entry, "Don't You Know What Time It Is?" by Michael Whalen, blew me away, and definitely deserved to win.

I've been told by a couple of people (including Steve) that they heard the jingle on the radio a few times and that WPLJ continued to use it to promote the morning show for a couple of years. They used the instrumental section for voice-overs (when it wasn't edited out) -- which is actually as I intended! A piece of it was used in the promos for subsequent jingle contests too.

A few months after the contest was over, I got a call from one of the producers of the morning show inviting us to sing it live on the air. I re-mixed it without the lead vocals so that Steve, my wife Kirsten, and I could sing it in 3-part harmony live accompanied by the backing tracks. (There was no way Steve was getting out of this one...) The show aired on a Friday morning August 2 and was hosted from a small diner in Connecticut. There were lots of people waiting outside to get in, but we got the VIP treatment and a table up front. We were a bit nervous when it came time to sing, and we could barely hear the backing tracks, but it came out... okay... barely. Actually, Steve and Kirsten did fine; I was a bit sharp. Fortunately, nobody can see you on the radio (except those at the diner) because I sure felt like a doofus singing up there with no keyboards to play and nothing to do with my hands. How do singers do that? Nevertheless, we got a nice warm reaction.

The whole morning crew were very gracious to us -- Scott Shannon was particularly encouraging to me -- and though we were a small part of the "Big Show" which included numerous guests, it was an experience Steve and I will never forget. On a more poignant note, I had a photo signed by the whole morning crew, but alas, I kept it at work and it ended up in the World Trade Center debris.

For the recording offered here, I opted for the radio spot where the jingle was played on the air for the first time. Todd's and the others' reaction to it (Scott was on vacation that day) is priceless to me. For a limited time, as a bonus we are also including an edit of the radio spot in which they announce we made the finals, and an edit of the radio spot where they recap all 12 finalists, and we get the "honorable mention". This is followed by the radio spot where we sang it live on the air. The track concludes with the radio promo for the '97 jingle contest which included our jingle.

NOTE: The original 9+ minute edit is now gone. However, 3:26 of it remains which includes the original radio spot, followed by an edit of the spot where they announce our honorable mention.

You'll probably be sick of "It's Scott and Todd" by the time you're done listening.


Apparently, our 3rd place showing and our minute and a half of fame were not enough...

So in '97 we tried again. This time we adapted a ballad of mine, "Friends". We made the finals again (top 10), but they only announced it and they only re-played the winners. No "honorable mention" this time around. In my opinion -- one that is not shared by anyone I know (including apparently the morning crew) -- this was a better jingle than the first one. But what do I know?

I would have liked to have entered in '98 and '99, but just didn't have the time or any songs I felt were good enough. Ah, who am I kidding, Steve didn't remind me and I was a slacker. They stopped running jingle contests after a few years probably because by the 3rd year, they were absolutely swamped with entries, many of which were karaoke types that sounded alike after awhile, though a number of them were well-done and funny.

The recording offered here is the original studio recording, followed by the radio spot announcing the finalists. We didn't manage to record the one time it appeared on the air (though I did hear it on my way to work) and it was listed on WPLJ's website for a time.


Steve Zipman, with his twin brother Stonewall:
Steve Zipman

For a little context about Scott and Todd:

Scott Shannon's impact has been so far-reaching that his peers in the radio business named him the "Most Influential Programmer of the Past 20 Years," according to a special survey conducted by the trade publication Radio and Records. He has also been named Billboard Magazine's "Air Personality of the Year" four times. Todd has been named Billboard's "Air Personality of the Year" five times, Radio and Records "Major Market Air Personality of the Year" six times, and has won five New York "AIR AWARDS".

In a business where longevity is rare, they did their "Big Show" thing in New York on WPLJ for nearly 23 years. A nice article about that can be found here.

Notably, the article says in part:
"If only in contrast to many of the other morning shows on the radio these days, the 'PLJ show has over the years developed a reputation for being something you can leave on while the kids are in the room or in the car - though they reject the notion they are purely G-rated. "We do a show for adults," says Shannon. "We just won't do filth for filth's sake."