I talked so much about the overall MSNBC look rather than the theme package… let me tell ya a couple things. 1) I didn’t watch much cable news (CNN, CNBC, etc wasn’t really on my radar. Maybe Headline.) 2nd, I recall July 1996 really well. Two major stories broke in MSNBC’s first couple of weeks. The set and theme package, just drew my 9 year old self in. Hearing the Shelly Palmer theme package, just channels my inner youthful, but old soul of a Gen-Xer in a Millennial body. I think it was that energy that captivated me into watching cable news.
Least we don’t forget the first break on that morning was actually the best cut in the package itself. The irony. What does MSNBC use today? No package whatsoever
On Friday, it marked the 26th anniversary of MSNBC. On July 15th, 1996, the network launched at a secondary studio that was once for America’s Talking, in Fort Lee, New Jersey; a sister network from CNBC. AT launched in 1994 as a botched attempt to port talk radio onto cable, but by early 1995, Bob Wright, the dimwit head of NBC along with Microsoft’s Bill Gates at a gathering in 30 Rock, announced that they would introduce a competitor to CNN, with the partnership with Microsoft. The channel was scheduled to launch in 1996 with America’s Talking to be replaced, as it was NBC’s second cable entity.
Before PNP was another phrase, it was the name for the theme package for a few of the East Coast CBS O&O stations. It was named from it’s composer, Shelton (better known as Shelly) Palmer whose a “he”! Way before he was futurist, he had composed news music, one of his first clients was WCBS-TV, for the Channel 2 News. WCBS-TV commissioned him to do the work, and it went on their air in March of 1985. Another version of the theme was commissioned and went to air in late 1986 and lasted through May 1989. The versioning with Shelly’s themes were “Phase I” and “Phase II”, etc. (BTW: The original ASCAP title in their catalog indicated as the WCBS-TV 1985 News ID Package
By the time Phase II appeared on Channel 2, the sister CBS O&Os used the theme as well, such as WCIX in Miami (which literally had CBS New York management as they just acquired Miami’s Channel 6) to make a mini-me version of WCBS-TV. I guess the reason why they were literally copying some of the New York format was to get the snowbirds, or permeant snowbirds to watch?
Approximately in 2006, Palmer sold his themes to 615 Music, and Quarter Past Six had been responsible for marketing the themes if stations so choose. PNP actually lasted for many, many years as late as 2012 in the smallest markets using cuts prior to my existence!
Of course, the PNP was one of many the themes that was based of a jingle from WBBM-TV, going as far back as 1975 and had been the de-facto flavor to all the CBS O&Os at the time. WBBM-TV retained that original theme up until late 1986. Over a dozen theme packages the several O&Os acquired up until the 1990s, had been commissioned by them. It is also to say, the CBS stations swayed between the WBBM tune and different themes, and return back. Even WBBM did it too. By 2005, CBS acquired the full rights to The Enforcer by Gari Media, which meant CBS owned or their affiliates could use that package, but it didn’t mean CBS owned the rights to the signature notes.
Now on his website, the samples all this themes are shown, despite Warner Chappell at some point had a page of the Shelly themes. The story goes 615 merged with Non-Stop (that was Warner owned) but became the bigger part of Warner when they acquired Gari Media in 2014, thats when the 3 companies became brands, and their studios would later just be cities of Warner-Chappell’s locations. I am not sure if he bought them back or what. At last check WCPM (vis-a-vis 615 Music would still be the owners.)
What’s interesting is the copyright on Palmer’s site indicates 1970, which he doesn’t look that old. Some creative types think the copyright begins at their birth, and perhaps he was not even legal when WCBS-TV acquired the theme. Who knows.
Thankfully I got a News Music Monday on a Monday. A random Public Service Announcement from your humble minifig newsie, don’t let silly feminists eat you alive. It could cost you your lifespan!
Rebuilding Local Media with building bricks and minifigures as the subjects. Also the King of Simulating Live events in Post Production™.