Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 December 2002
Identifying a television channel on-air has become increasingly important in the multi-channel age. For viewers it is a navigational necessity; for broadcasting executives it contributes to corporate branding. But despite the fact that television is an audiovisual medium, the so-called channel idents which appear between programmes are almost always discussed in terms of their visual rather than their audio characteristics. This article aims to go some way to correct this imbalance in arguing that the latter have evolved in a distinctive manner. Initially borrowing the idea of the fanfare from the cinema, UK broadcasters in recent years have developed a softer style, then drawn on dance and other forms of popular music and finally employed sound effects in the production of channel idents.
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