Library Of American Broadcasting Highlights ‘Broadcast Jingles’

The Library of American Broadcasting — home to a treasure trove of U.S. radio and television history located on the campus of the University of Maryland — has unveiled its latest virtual exhibit entitled “The Lost Art of Jingle Writing”.

The LAB exhibit is culled from a collection of iconic ads archived by the Radio Advertising Bureau, the national radio trade organization whose history dates back to the 1950s.

Advertising jingles have permeated pop culture and influenced consumer buying habits for nearly a century with catchy phrasing and memorable tunes, beginning in 1926 when a barbershop quartet in Minneapolis was hired to perform the Wheaties breakfast commercial “Have You Tried Wheaties?”

It wasn’t until 1939 that a jingle began airing nationwide on a growing number of commercial radio stations. The Pepsi Cola ad — “Pepsi Cola Hits the Spot” — was created by the Newell-Emmett advertising agency and composed by Alan Kent and Austin Croom-Johnson.

Included in the LAB/RAB collection are jingles such as the memorable Alka Seltzer spot “Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz”, Coca Cola’s “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” and Oscar Meyer’s “Oh I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Wiener”.

The collection includes jingles crafted from composer giants in the advertising world, including Steve Karmen, Richard Trentlage, Thomas Dawes, Bill Backer and Ellie Greenwich.


The Library of American Broadcasting Collection at the University of Maryland is the preeminent repository for the preservation and dissemination of the 100-year history of U.S. broadcasting. Originally housed in the National Association of Broadcasters’ previous headquarters at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, the collection moved to its current location in 1994.

The Library includes the papers and transcripts of legendary ABC and CBS TV journalist Howard K. Smith; the Arthur Godfrey Collection; digitized tapes of newsmaker interviews from the 1950s and 1960s from Westinghouse Broadcasting (later known as “Group W” before its merger with CBS in 1999); and audio recordings, microphones and memorabilia from KDKA Pittsburgh, the nation’s first commercial radio station.

Earlier this year, the Library introduced the exhibit “From Amos ‘N’ Andy to Civil Rights: The Inclusion of Blackness in Commercial Radio Broadcasts”.

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