THE DAY THE JINGLE DIED

MEDIA One last time, now: “748-1414, 748-1414/77ie Dallas Times Herald classified/Get results like you’ve never seen before.. .”

OK, I’m the guy who wrote the 748-1414 jingle for the Herald, a fact that has been a source of pride, income and embarrassment since 1977. The pride comes from a basic truth about advertising: Nobody runs a jingle for 14 years unless it’s really working, and the Herald’s classified section remained strong right up to the end. Besides, it’s fun to have written a song that everyone can sing, even if they do so more or less involuntarily. And though the gig didn’t pay a whole lot, the song’s longevity made it more than usually profitable for a local account. The embarrassment? Well, that pretty much sings for itself.

But the sense of loss goes deeper than just knowing that my jingle has vanished from the local airwaves. I’ve felt a connection to the paper that renewed itself daily since I threw a Herald route in junior high. When I was just out of college and serving as press officer for the Dallas County Community Action Committee, JIM LEHRER-then the Herald’s city editor, now co-host of The McNeil-Lehrer Report- befriended me.

He’d let me go into the empty news room after a late-night organizational meeting and write the story. The next day, he’d clean up my mess, run what was usable, then take the time to give me a critique.

Everyone who liked the Herald took the news of its closing in their own way, I suppose. On hearing the bulletin, I dialed 748-1414. A recording told me I’d reached the classified ad department of The Dallas Morning News. Damn!

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