Stephen Arnold Unveils Local Sonic Branding

The new offering offers stations a market-exclusive package of 15 arrangements to enhance various types of programming and promotions, plus a 16th arrangement created in consultation with the client, a ring tone feature and three one-minute songs that can be used to back image campaigns.

Just in time for the PromaxBDA Station Summit, sonic branding purveyor Stephen Arnold Music is rolling out a new service that will allow station clients to amass potentially dozens of arrangements for use throughout the broadcast day — each composed with the same three-note “sonic logo.”

Localsonly, as the new service has been dubbed, includes a core package of 15 arrangements to enhance various types of programming and promotions. It also comes with a 16th market-specific arrangement created in consultation with the client, a ring tone feature and three one-minute songs that can be used to back image campaigns.

The service is available on a first-come, first-served, market-exclusive basis, says Chad Cook, Stephen Arnold’s creative director.

The number of arrangements available to a client grows over time because each market-specific arrangement will be the available to all clients using the same three-note logo.

In other words, Cook says, if a given three-note package is sold to 50 stations in 50 markets, each clients would have access to 65 arrangements — the core 15 and the 50 market-specific arrangements.

A piece of music created for Green Bay, Wis., could be used by a station in Pittsburgh, he says.


“Most markets cannot afford a custom music package that meets their exact needs,” Cook says. “What this does is provide a lot of musical diversity — traditional stuff, edgy stuff, indie band stuff — and it keeps growing.”

Stations that sign on will also not be stuck with the same music for several years. “They can refresh the music, but maintain the core notes of the sonic brand over a long period of time.”

Cook declined to discuss the pricing for Localsonly. “I would just say that this is all available at a standard syndication rate card dependant on market size. Contracts are usually one to five years.”

At the heart of the service is a password-protected website for all clients in the three-note community. “That’s where all the zip files of every arrangement will be: Severe Weather 1, Traffic 1, Traffic 2, New Open Hard Rock, News Open Traditional and so on,” says Cook, noting that the cuts will be available in a variety of lengths.

The site is also designed to allow clients in each community to share ideas, post promos as many now do on YouTube and provide feedback to Stephen Arnold.

That feedback might include suggestions for new arrangement, Cook says. “They could say they wished they had a Mardi Gras cut or an urban cut or a Latin cut.”

Of course, the site also serves as a way for Stephen Arnold to communicate with the community, providing news, updates and suggestions of its own.

If all goes well, Cook envisions the creation of a second — and possibly a third — three-note Localsonly communities so that more than one station in a market can subscribe. “We can design one from scratch for stations groups as well.”

In fact, he says, Stephen Arnold has already developed a “private community” for Nexstar Broadcasting that is about to launch.

Subscribers to the package will also have their choice of three, minute-long versions of a song meant for image campaigns — “This Is Where I Live.” One is hard rock, one is pop and one is a work in progress. “I’m still writing it,” Cook says.

Stephen Arnold is willing to customize the music, inserting lyrics that make references to the market, Cook says. But new lyrics and “re-sings” will cost the station extra, he adds.

Cook says the ring tone feature is designed to make things easy for stations and for consumers. The station gives Stephen Arnold a phrase — Fox8, say — and that becomes the key word that consumers can text to a number to get the ring tone.

Cook says the firm if working with a “high-level” third party that can automatically deliver the ring tones to 108 different mobile devices. “You don’t have to go to website and sync up your phone and all that stuff.”

Cook says that Stephen Arnold is promoting the new service the best it can at the PromaxPDA Station Summit of station creative services directors that is taking place this week in Las Vegas. It’s sponsoring the awards ceremony and giving award prizes, including a Martin guitar signed by Willie Nelson.

“It’s a cool concept,” Cook says of Localsonly.  I’m pleased we were able to premiere it at the conference.”

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