Television news music
are 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.
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 much as 1000 cuts of music. One of the largest news music packages is Stephen Arnold Music's Overture package with a total of 36 themes and over 1000 cuts.
News music packages consist of the following: opens, closes, bumpers, topicals (promo beds), franchise opens/stingers, IDs, utility tracks and billboards.
- 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 3 or 4-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 versions of the close, designed to resolve at a precise time.
- Bumpers: These are used primarily before the main open and teasing out to commercial breaks during 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.)
Other compositions in a news package include IDs, utility tracks, and billboards.
Stations within the same market area will always use different music packages, unless they are related to each other in some manner. For example, the two stations may be owned by the same company (or operated by the same company under a local marketing agreement), or one station may contract out its news production to the other.
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 the norm in the industry, there are some stations that still use custom made packages. Such examples include:
- WLS-TV, Chicago
- KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City
- Newsmusic Central's KFOR Custom News Package (1993-1997)
- Wow and Flutter Music's KFOR-TV News Package (1997-present)
- KSTP-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Lattitude 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-present)
- KUSA News Package by Third Street Music (1995-present)
- WPIX-TV, New York
- WPIX-TV Custom News Package by Non-Stop Music (1994-present)
- WGN-TV, Chicago
- 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)
- 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
Some packages are custom made for a specific station group company, or owned and operated stations and affiliates of a specific television network:
Station image 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. 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 such as Canada and Australia.
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:
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.
List of television news music packages
News music composers