March 2008 Offerings Of The Month:
"It's Scott and Todd! ('96 Jingle)"
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.
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
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
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...
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
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:
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
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."