News Branding Observations: WPVI

Not everybody watches the news, but when they do, they count on 2 familar sounds: the voice of the newscaster on record, and the mnemonic of that station: what Stephen Arnold calls “sonic branding”. Due to the popularity of my last post, I’m starting a special series on those stations whose excellence in the branding part – and to some extent, the talent – have stood the test of time. Maybe some stations with missed opportunities here and there. But to set the precedent, let’s start with the station that every news junkie in America has heard of – a little Philadelphia station called WPVI.

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Homage to Newschannel (and to Frank Gari)

The people who know me best know full well I wanna go into the business of broadcast journalism. Ever since I was young, I appreciated the aesthetics of how it worked – how to cover a story (and, to an extent, not cover it), how to make your product sound and look the best, and so on.

Which brings me to a certain factor of news presentation – the music package. Frank Gari invented the modern news package – linking together various themes suited for different parts of the broadcast (weather, sports, etc etc), and linking them all with a mnemonic. A signature. Creating a package always starts from one station that wants a good look – the best in the city. Gari started that with Cleveland’s WEWS. A certain slogan… “Catch 5”.

As the 80s went on, Gari made a name for himself creating great news imaging packages that, in fact, were so good, at least one or two stations in each market wanted a piece of him. In fact, one of his best known works started in Atlanta and, until recently, enjoyed an over 3 decade run of existence. Not on that same station, no… Atlanta moves too damn fast. But look further into the East Coast… Continue reading “Homage to Newschannel (and to Frank Gari)”