On Internet radio, let’s play name that tune

Evidently it’s been since the ’70s that radio stations needed instrumental “filler” music (the tunes you heard in New England, to cite examples from real experience, when the DJ on duty needed something he could easily fade out going into the news or when he was trying to plug in the Red Sox feed). Because of ad contracts, when Internet listeners from outside certain DMAs tune to, for example, KABC in Los Angeles, they are played a musical interlude instead of commercials. Typically this is more pleasant (in a name-that-tune kind of way) than the usual snake-oil spots that broadcast listeners suffer. The unfortunate exception is orange-oil spots from Jeff Hiatt Termite Pros, which seems to have paid for all of Southern California, leading to the strange illusion that Jeff is the sole sponsor of the entire station. What’s funny is the playlist apparently available for fill: The radio-version theme songs for Hill Street Blues, CHiPs, Star Wars, Terms of Endearment and Chariots of Fire (the latter two being the most recent songs, from the early ’80s), The Chantays’ “Pipeline,” Chuck Mangione’s “Give it All You Got,” “Love’s Theme” from Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra, and Herb Alpert’s entire catalog, from “Lonely Bull” to “A Taste of Honey.” It is a nostalgic reminder of the radio days before excessive genre segregation.

—Posted by Gregory Solman