Apart from commercials one of the most memorable programming elements of offshore radio was the use of jingles and frequent station identity (ID) announcements.
Before the arrival of offshore radio state systems usually confined their ID announcement to a formal statement, often just before a major news bulletin. During the Second World War the BBC introduced more frequent ID announcements to reassure listeners that they were tuned to an 'official' broadcast, but this practice was largely dropped after the end of hostilities.
Although the more liberal Radio Luxembourg did use some jingles during the 1950s and early 1960s it broadcast a very staid station ID (using the slogan "The Station of the Stars") preceded by the famous gong,
Jingles originated in America where they had been used since the 1920s, generally for commercials, and were often performed live, particularly during sponsored programme segments.
Wheaties breakfast cereal made advertising history on Christmas Eve 1926 as the first advertised product to feature a singing commercial on network radio. The soon-to-be famous "Have You Tried Wheaties" jingle was sung by four male singers known as "The Wheaties Quartet".
The concept of using jingles for station IDs and promotions, however, came in the late 1940s, with KLIF in Dallas being a pioneer. Gordon McLendon, who owned KLIF, later became influential in some Scandinavian and British offshore radio stations, principally Radio Nord, Radio London, Radio England and Britain Radio, and it is these stations which are credited with developing the concept of jingles and IDs.
Offshore radio brought the American approach to programming to European listeners - frequent station IDs, time checks and jingles between records. The jingles either promoted the station itself, a particular category of record (flashback, hit prediction, chart climber etc.) or just the whole concept of listening to radio.
Scandinavian offshore stations were the first to use jingles - in particular Radio Nord with its American backing and programming influence. Off the British coast Radio Caroline and the other early stations were slow to use jingles, although Caroline adopted the 'bell' ID early in its life.
It was the arrival of American backed Radio London in December 1964 that brought intensive use of jingles to British radio and soon nearly all the offshore stations were using them.
The majority of jingle packages used by the offshore stations were created by PAMS Inc (Promotions, Advertising and Merchandising Services) in Dallas and were often re-workings of packages used at the time by many stations in the USA. See Radio Jingles and PAMS for a full history of PAMS and the jingles they produced which were used by the offshore stations.
In Holland Radio Veronica, after hardly using any jingles during its first few years, soon jumped on the bandwagon after the British offshore stations had shown the way. Other later Dutch stations as well as offshore broadcasters in New Zealand, and Israel also made extensive use of jingles and station IDs. When state radio systems were updated to provide 'replacement' services for the offshore stations they too included the use of jingles as part of their image re-vamp.
Although extensive use of jingles is now somewhat out of fashion in radio production they are still used - a programming element taken for granted, but developed and spread due to the influence of the offshore stations.