News Music

Written by Michael Federico
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News music falls into a number of different categories. Opening themes, segment pieces, and promotional compositions are featured in almost every broadcast. Also, there are different types of news shows, and each requires a different type of news music. Shows that feature two hosts squaring off and yelling at each other for the better part of thirty minutes usually will have a different score than a traditional network news program.

Cable has slowly changed the news into a form of entertainment. It has gone far beyond the days when people simply tried to find the program that gave the most information or had the most likeable personalities behind the anchor desk. There are news shows now that actually do not feature any news at all. This shift in programming has changed the function and style of news music. Hosts now have their own themes, and each show's audio design has an entirely different feel.

Cable News Music

There are a few distinct differences between cable news programs and those on the regular networks. The fact that cable programs run all day is the most noticeable. However, this trait has led to many other alterations in news programming. In order to fill a 24-hour schedule, many cable networks will dedicate several hours a day to one topic. War, natural disasters, and other major stories warrant this kind of coverage.

To complement this, cable news music has become very topic specific. Themes and motifs recur throughout the day, creating something similar to a film score. War news will often bring with it heavy percussion and stilted cadences, while the storm coverage uses woodwinds and strings. The use of news music in this way has caused a bit of controversy of late, because music heavily influences the listener's emotional attachment to the subject. Regardless of one's feeling on the matter, it is clear that news music will continue to evolve, and its importance within a broadcast will continue to grow, as well.


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