An interval signal, or tuning signal, is a characteristic sound or musical phrase used in international broadcasting, numbers stations, and by some domestic broadcasters, played before commencement or during breaks in transmission, but most commonly between programmes in different languages. It serves several purposes:
- It assists a listener to tune his or her radio to the correct frequency of the station. This is because most older and cheaper radio receivers do not have digital frequency readout.
- It informs other stations that the frequency is in use.
- It serves as a station identifier even if the language used in the subsequent broadcast is not one the listener understands.
The practise began in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s and was carried over into shortwave broadcasts. The use of interval signals has declined with the advent of digital tuning systems, but has not vanished. Interval signals were not required on commercial channels in the United States, where jingles were used as identification.
List of interval signals by station
- Radiodifusión Argentina al Exterior: First eight notes of "Mi Buenos Aires querido" by Carlos Gardel, followed by people saying the station's name in eight languages.
- Voice of the Strait News Radio: Bell version of "Three Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention" (三大纪律八项注意).
- Radio Habana Cuba: Melody of "March of the 26th of July" (La Marcha del 26 de Julio) by Agustín Díaz Cartaya.
- Radio France Internationale: Electronic-disco, culminating in the last 8 measures of "La Marseillaise".
- Deutsche Welle: Celesta version of "Es sucht der Bruder seine Brüder" from Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven.
- Radio Republik Indonesia: "Solace on Coconut Island" (Rayuan Pulau Kelapa), composed by Ismail Marzuki.
- "Kazoe-uta" (数え歌, counting-out game).
- "Sakura Sakura" (さくらさくら, cherry blossoms).
- North Korea
- KBS World Radio: "Dawn".
- Radio Romania International: "Pui de lei", lyrics by Ioan S. Nenițescu and song by Ionel G. Brătianu
- United States:
- Radio Nacional de Venezuela – Canal Internacional: Beginning of "Alma Llanera" by Pedro Elías Gutiérrez and Rafael Bolívar Coronado.
- Radio Australia: Chimes version of Waltzing Matilda (chorus), Kookaburra call. News signature tune: Majestic Fanfare.
- Radio Netherlands: Carillon version of the Eighty Years' War song Merck toch hoe sterck.
- BBC World Service: Trumpet version of Oranges and Lemons, first four notes of Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven, played on timpani; Lillibullero (signature tune, played on trumpet).
- Radio Tirana: Këputa një gjethe dafine (transmission intro) and the trumpet version of With Pickaxe and Rifle.
- Radio Austria International: Orchestral version of An der schönen blauen Donau ("Blue Danube Waltz") by Johann Strauss.
- RTBF International: Où peut-on être mieux qu’au sein de sa famille.
- Rádio Nacional: Luar do Sertão.
- Radio Canada International: First four notes of O Canada, played on piano or autoharp.
- Radio Peking (predecessor of China Radio International): Chimes version of 东方红 ("The East Is Red").
- Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation: Avkoritsa by Andreas Mappouras, played on guitar
- Radio Prague:
Trumpet version of Kupředu levá ("Forward, Left") by Jan Seidl
Adagio – Allegro molto from Symphony No. 9 by Dvořák.
- Radio Finland: Pim-pam-pulla by A. O. Väisänen.
- Radio France Internationale: Trumpet version of a popular song Nous n'irons plus au bois.
- Berliner Rundfunk: Motif from the opera Regina by Albert Lortzing, played by trumpets.
- Radio Berlin International: Beginning of Auferstanden aus Ruinen ("Risen from Ruins"), played on chimes.
- Radio DDR: First few bars of Wann wir schreiten Seit’ an Seit’.
- Deutschlandfunk: Celesta version of Dir, Land voll Lieb' und Leben from "Ich hab mich ergeben" by Hans Ferdinand Maßmann.
- Radio Budapest: Excerpts from the suite 1848 by T.K. Polgar played on 3 trumpets and 2 cornets.
- Kol Yisrael: Trumpet and drum version of Hatikvah.
- Rai Italia Radio: Mechanically generated canary chirping.
- Trans World Radio: Hymne Monégasque
- NPO: First seven notes of Wilhelmus, played on clarinet (Radio 1 and Radio 5), synthesizer (Radio 3), spinet (Radio 4) and carillon (Radio 2).
- NRK P1: Motif from Sigurd Josarfal by Edward Grieg.
- Radio Norway International (former international service of NRK): Ancient folk tune from the Hallingdal region and
- Radio Katowice: Sound of a hammer striking an anvil.
- Radio Olsztyn: Excerpt from O Warmio moja miła by Feliks Nowowiejski, played on calliope.
- Polish Radio External Service: Excerpt from Prząśniczka by Stanisław Moniuszko, played on piano.
- Radio Polonia: Piano version of Etude No. 12 ("Revolutionary Etude") by Frédéric Chopin.
- Radio Sweden: Chime version of Ut i vida världen ("Out in the Wide World"), composed by Ralph Lundsten and the opening notes of Carl Michael Bellman's Storm och böljor tystna r'en.
- Radio Bucharest 1 and Radio Bucharest External Service (pre-1989): Fragment from Cantata anilor luminǎ by Anatol Vieru
- Radio Mayak: Vibraphone version of Moscow Nights.
- Voice of Russia: "Majestic" chorus from the "Great Gate of Kiev" portion of Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky.
- Radio Serbia: Bože pravde.
- Radio Slovakia International: Kto za pravdu horí.
- Radio RSA (former international service of Apartheid-era South African Broadcasting Corporation): Bokmakierie chirping and first bars of Ver in die Wereld, Kittie, played on guitar.
- Radio Beromünster: D' Zit isch do, played on music box.
- Swiss Radio International: Lueget, vo Berg und Tal.
- Voice of Turkey: Makam, played on piano.
- Radio Moscow (former international service of the Soviet Union):
Песня о Родине ("Wide Is My Motherland")
Midnight in Moscow, played by balalaika.
- WYFR: First two bars of To God Be the Glory by William Howard Doane played by brass band
- Radio Yugoslavia (1980-1989): First bar of Druže Tito,ljubićice bjela anonymous Partisan song, in various orchestral renditions 
- Radio Yugoslavia, later International Radio of Serbia and Montenegro: Jugoslavijo by Nikola Hercigonja.
- NWDR: The 4th symphony by Brahms.
Classical Radio Station WQXR-FM in New York City, during its ownership by The New York Times Company, played different variations of a classical infused gong with the ID read at the same time as "The Classical Station of the New York Times, WQXR, New York (And WQXR.com 2000-2009)
Numbers station interval signals
- Treiber, Alfred, 1944- (2007). Ö1 gehört gehört : die kommentierte Erfolgsgeschichte eines Radiosenders (in German). Wien: Böhlau. p. 218. ISBN 978-3-205-77495-2. OCLC 127107294.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- stephensen (2009-10-19). "Pausesignal". Retrieved 2020-04-02 – via YouTube.
- Tuning into broadcast history. The Hindu BusinessLine, 15 October 2015.
- BBC World Service (Europe) interval signal Retrieved 2013-10-09.
- Frost, J. M. World Radio TV Handbook. New York: Billboard Publications, 1983.
- nl:Pauzeteken[better source needed]
- Frost, Jens Mathiesen. World Radio-TV Handbook. London: Billboard Publications, 1974.
- Radio Sweden interval signal Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- DX LISTENING DIGEST 7-043
- Frost, Jens Mathiesen (1974). World Radio-TV Handbook 1974. London: Billboard Publications. p. 408. ISBN 0823058980.
- Sennitt, Andrew G.; David Bobbitt (December 2005). World Radio and Television Handbook 2006. Billboard Books. p. 608. ISBN 0-8230-7798-5.