In April of 2004, WNKT (Cat Country 107-5) Program Director Bob McNeill and I traveled to TM Century (now TM Studios) in Dallas, Texas to have a jingle package sung for WNKT-FM. The package was Pride, originally done for 50,000 watt AM country music station WSM-AM in Nashville, Tennessee. It features real country music instrumentation, along with the "classic" Dallas 7-voice sound (including legendary jingle bass singer Jim Clancy) as well as male and female soloists. (The female solos were done by country music star Janie Fricke, who lives in the Dallas area.) WNKT was the first station after WSM to have this package.
For a serious radio jingle collector like me, it was a real treat to watch and hear the jingles being sung live. Due to vocalist availability, the male solos were sung earlier in the week so we missed seeing those done. However we got to be there during all the group sings, which were followed by the recordings of Janie's solos.
These singers are real pros. While that big Dallas 7-voice sound is actually 21 voices (the group stacks their vocals three times) I don't think any stacking instance took over three takes. After the group sings were done, we had the group do several shouts of DJ names and station slogans. Those were almost always done on the first take, but each shout was overdubbed once to give them a bigger sound.
The jingles were recorded between 10:30 and 12:30 on Friday, April 2. Mixing began around 3:00, and Bob and I each had a CD of all of the main cuts by the time TM Century closed at 5:00. On April 14 we received three finished CDs from TM Century. One contained all of the main cuts along with mixouts and shouts, while the other two held the M-Power versions of the jingles. Not only were all of the mixed and acapella jingles on the discs in .wav format, but each individual component of the music beds was provided as a .wav file. This lets one use a program like Cool Edit Pro or Adobe Audition to remix the jingle beds to their heart's content. You could turn up the drums, re-pan the steel guitar, take out the dobro, etc.
Very slick packaging on the final CDs too. Instead of coming in a typical hard plastic jewel case with a separate cue sheet, they were contained in a soft, clear plastic container similar to the ones that hold DVDs. The cut list was on the case's full color heavy paper insert.
I hope you enjoy these photos I took of our visit.
A final note: Bob McNeill and I spent an enjoyable 15-20 minutes with Janie in TM Century's "green room" before the session talking about her country music and jingle singing career. Janie is as sweet and gracious as you'd expect her to be. Janie started singing radio jingles in the late 1960s for Pepper-Tanner in Memphis, and then a short time later for the original TM Productions in Dallas. (She's featured on one my favorite early 1970s TM packages, "Where Your Friends Are.") Janie also sang in Los Angeles and, of course, Nashville.