Television news music
Television news music is used by television stations to brand their news operations. Each television station uses an identifiable news theme; some themes are used by multiple stations while others are composed specifically for a certain station.
- 1 In the United States
- 2 News music worldwide
- 3 News music composers and production companies
- 4 References
- 5 External links
In the United States
In the United States, news themes used on local television stations are typically organized into news music packages, with each theme within a package sharing a similar musical signature. A typical television news music package consists of anywhere from 50 to as many as 1000 cuts of music. One of the largest news music packages is Overture, created by Stephen Arnold Music. This package consists of a total of 36 themes and over 1000 cuts.
- Opens: These are the cuts used to begin a newscast, usually accompanied by a vamp straight out of the open (either a stripped or full version of the bumper.) In a news package, opens come in short credit forms (for the main open) and long credit forms (for talent opens.) Some packages even include different lengths of the talent opens for three- or four—anchor lineups.
- Closes: Closes also come in different formats and lengths, many of which are similar in sound to that package's open. Usually, there are 60-, 30-, 20-, 15-, and 10-second versions of the close, designed to resolve at a precise time.
- Bumpers: These are used primarily before the main open and teasing out to the next segment of a newscast. When the bumper is played, a summary of what will air in the upcoming newscast or later in the newscast will be shown.
- Topicals/promo beds: These are the cuts of music used only in promos for a specific upcoming newscast. Topicals come in four types: theme donut/theme donut open beds, ID/promo beds, end theme news open/promo beds, and ID/stingers. These usually correspond with regular promo times (:30, :20, :10, and :05 ID.)
- Franchise opens/stingers: Franchise opens or stingers are used to open various segments of a newscast in-show (breaking news, special reports, sports, weather, investigation, etc.)
- IDs: This is a short package signature used to identify the television station. It can also be used in conjunction to identify talent. The Federal Communications Commission requires several over-the-air (OTA) stations (including radio stations) to identify themselves at regular intervals by either stating their call letters or brand name (sometimes known, particularly in the United States, as a "sounder" or "stinger", more generally as a station or network ident). Also, an ID can signify a network affiliation such as the NBC chimes or the Fox TV drum roll.
- Utility tracks
Stations within the same market area will always use different music packages, unless they are related to each other in some manner; e.g., if two stations may be owned by the same company (or operated by the same company under a local marketing agreement (LMA), or one station may contract out its news production to the other. For example: in Ft. Myers, Florida, ABC affiliate WZVN-TV is owned by Montclair Communications, Inc., while NBC affiliate WBBH-TV in the same market is owned by Waterman Broadcasting Corporation, which operates WZVN under an LMA. That said, both stations currently use This is Your News by Gari Communications. In newscasts airing on WZVN, NBC network ID stingers can be heard in the news opens, even though WZVN-TV is an ABC affiliate.
A case where the opposite of the aforementioned is true is in Denver, Colorado, Fox affiliate KDVR is owned by Local TV LLC, while CW affiliate KWGN is owned by the Tribune Company but is operated by KDVR under an LMA.
Custom news music packages
Some news music packages are custom made for one station only, as opposed to syndicated packages which are used by multiple stations. While syndicated packages are normal in the industry, there are some stations that still use custom made packages. Such examples include:
- KDVR, Colorado
- News Music Package Composed by Alan Koshiyama (2011–present)
- KWGN, Colorado
- News Music Package Composed by Alan Koshiyama (2011–present)
- WLS-TV, Chicago
- News Series 2000 Plus (1992–present)
- KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City
- Newsmusic Central's KFOR Custom News Package (1993–1997)
- Wow and Flutter Music's KFOR-TV News Package (1997–present)
- KNBC-TV, Los Angeles
- Newscenter (1979-1981) and Newscenter II (1981-1993) by Michael Randall
- KNBC News (1994-1998) by Michael Boyd
- L.A. Groove (2004-present) by Groove Worx
- KSTP-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Latitude Music's Leading Edge (1995–1999)
- Stephen Arnold Music's Overture (1999–2005)
- KTHV, Little Rock
- KTHV 1995 News Package (1995–2004)
- KTHV 2004 News Package (2004–2008)
- KUSA News Package by Third Street Music (1995–2009) (While it ceased to be the main theme as of October 2008, it was used for the Talent ID until Feb of 2009.)
- WPIX-TV, New York
- WPIX-TV Custom News Package by Non-Stop Music (1994–present)
- WGN-TV, Chicago
- WGN 1991 News Theme (1991-1993)
- Chicago's Very Own by John Hegner (1993–1997)
- WGN News Theme by Non-Stop Music (1997–2007)
- Chicago's Very Own by 615 Music (2007–present)
- WWL-TV, New Orleans
- Stephen Arnold Music's WWL News (1989–2004)
- Stephen Arnold Music's WWL Custom News Package [The Spirit Of Louisiana] (2004–2006)
- WTVK, Knoxville (now WVLT-TV)
- Pulstar (1977-1981)
- Hello News (1981-1985)
- WTVK 1985 News Theme (1985–1986)
- WTVK 1986 News Theme (1986–1987)
- KOMO News theme (KOMO-TV, Seattle, composed and recorded by Dan Dean Productions)
- KOMO News theme 1988
- KOMO News theme 1990
- KOMO News theme 1992
- WCAU-TV, Philadelphia
- WCAU NBC News Theme (1997–2000)
- WISH-TV, Indianapolis (These packages used the "Back Home Again, in Indiana" melody in the music exclusive to Indiana)
- Newsleader, possibly a.k.a. Newsleader in Indiana by Stephen Arnold, first use the melody (1991-1997)
- WISH-TV News Music Package, a.k.a. Counterpoint with Indiana by Stephen Arnold (1997-2004)
- In-Sync V.4, a.k.a. In-Sync with Indiana by 615 Music (2004-2012)
- A New WISH by 615 Music (2012–present)
- WJZ-TV, Baltimore
- Chroma Cues (1989–present)
Some packages are custom made for a specific station group company, or owned and operated stations and affiliates of a specific television network:
- Daily News by Gari Communications (December 2006–present) for the Sinclair stations.
- Fox Affiliate News Theme by OSI Music (2005–present) for Fox affiliate and owned-and-operated stations (O&Os).
- Gannett News Music Package by Rampage Music (2008–2012) and This Is Home by Gari Media Group (2012/2013–present) for the Gannett stations.
- Hearst-Argyle News Package by NewsMusic Central (2003/2004–2012) and Strive by In The Groove Music (2012–present) for the Hearst stations.
- Media General Station Group Package by John D. Keltonic (2006–2013) and Canvas by Stephen Arnold (2013–present) for the Media General stations
- Move Closer to Your World by Al Ham (1972–1988) for stations owned by Capital Cities Communications.
- The NBC Collection by Gari Communications (1995–present), The Rock by Stephen Arnold (2005–present) and The Tower by 615 Music (2000–present) for NBC O&Os and affiliates.
- Sinclair News Music Package by Stephen Arnold (2002-December 2006) for the Sinclair stations.
- Scripps TV Station Group Package by Musikvergnuegen (2009–2012) and Inergy by Stephen Arnold (2012–present) for the E. W. Scripps stations.
- Spirit (of Texas) by TM Communications (1985-1990s) for the Belo Corporation stations
Station imaging packages
Some news music packages are accompanied by a station image package, featuring promotional jingles which often share the same musical signature as the parent news music package. Often, imaging packages include jingles for the holiday and elections. Such promotional packages first came to prominence in the United States in the 1970s, and had become widespread by the 1980s, used by many (though not all) television stations. Many memorable packages, such as Frank Gari's "Hello" and "Turn to...", were composed during this era, and some were even used on stations in some other countries and in languages other than English.
Station image packages are designed to give a positive branding method for broadcast television stations. Many such packages from the 1970s and 1980s often portrayed stations in a community-oriented light, accompanied by footages of the stations' personalities participating in recreational activities and charity events with regular everyday people. By the 1990s, many stations had adopted a more hard-hitting approach to branding, resulting in a reduced demand for traditional promotion campaigns. However, a few stations which used Gari's Hello campaign briefly re-introduced it in the 2000s as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations.
News music adopted from other sources
Besides standard news music packages, some stations had opted to use the soundtrack from some movies or other popular songs as their main news themes; examples include:
- Cool Hand Luke's "The Tar Sequence" by Lalo Schiffrin  (later gave rise to News Series 2000 by Frank Gari)
- "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams  (later gave rise to an identically-named news theme by Telesound )
- "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," used by KNTV in San Jose, California in the 1980s and early 1990s.
- "Gonna Fly Now" (version by Maynard Ferguson), used most famously by Citytv Toronto in the 1970s
- The Happening's "The Fuzz" by Frank De Vol
- Group W's Eyewitness News format at KYW, WBZ, and WJZ once used 007 from the From Russia With Love film soundtrack.
- Al Caiola's version of Elmer Bernstein's main theme for The Magnificent Seven.
- WGCL-TV in Atlanta, Georgia used a news theme based on Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" from 2001 to 2002 as part of its "Clear TV" branding.
- "MacArthur Park" by Richard Harris and adapted by Hugo Montenegro was used by Cleveland, Ohio WJW-TV in the 1970s when they were still a CBS station and they used the City Camera News theme.
- "Theme from Shaft" by Isaac Hayes used by WMC-TV in the 1970s.
News music worldwide
Certain News Music packages used in the United States have also been used worldwide. Eyewitness News by Frank Gari has been picked up for use in overseas markets. Hong Kong Cable News has used it for its morning newscast, and POP TV in Slovenia has used it for its main newscasts.
News music composers and production companies
- Alan Koshiyama
- Stephen Arnold Music
- Gari Media Group
- Groove Worx
- Edd Kalehoff Productions
- Killer Tracks
- Shelly Palmer Company
- 615 Music