If you've been listening to local radio for the past few decades you're very familiar with the work of Ken Kaufman.
Kaufman is the man behind the jingles for Cellino & Barnes, UB Football, the Buffalo Zoo, WGRZ TV Daybreak Theme, WKBW TV Theme, West Herr Automative Group and Tops Markets.
Over the past few decades, he's created hundreds of recognizable jingles but now he's decided to reimagine his career.
Kaufman, a Lockport resident, has decided to end his exclusive advertising relationship with WBEN Radio/Entercom/Radio One Communications and become independent.
He said he had a "symbiotic relationship" with them, while noting he was not employed with them.
Kaufman said he is happy to be working out of his Lockport residence now because it allows him the ability to work with a variety of writers and performers and also to have live instrumentation, which he was not able to do before because of the space constraints of his previous workspace. As a result of space constraints, he had to synthesize a lot of the instruments.
"In order to do the music justice, I feel you need to have real instrumentation," Kaufman said. "The move is perfect because I've got the piano that I need and want and all of the rest of the orchestration. I bring musicians in here."
Kaufman now is able to work with a grand piano hooked up with microphones in his residence, as well as another room with other instruments and equipments.
Kaufman said when writing a jingle for a company he has to delve in and find as much about the client he can. He added he tries to figure out what their main demographic is or the main demographic they wish to have.
"Then, at that point you have to come up with some kind of phrase, which is the branding phrase," Kaufman said. "That's the critical part and that's the difficult part.You have to take a whole business down to about eight words — 10 words or less."
Kaufman's jingle writing career began in 1980 when, after leaving the Eastman School of Music to join a band, he was hired by a local advertising agency and given the assignment to create a jingle.
In 1987, he formed AdSongs and also began an exclusive advertising relationship with WBEN Radio/Entercom/Radio One Communications.
Kaufman said he believes it's a good thing that his jingles have helped to promote businesses.
"Most of these businesses must be pretty good businesses because philosophically speaking if you promote a bad business you'll help to put it out of business quicker," Kaufman said.
Kaufman noted the jingles must be crafted well enough so that the slogan and name fit.
Kaufman also observed that some might try to trivialize jingles but that a jingle shouldn't be because it's almost as important as any other aspect of marketing for a business.
"It's not only a jingle. Guess what it's their song. It's like their sign. You wouldn't trivialize the sign that a business is going to have in the front of their business. You wouldn't trivialize the importance of the right lettering, the right color, the right size," Kaufman said. "Well, then certainly don't trivialize the quality of the music that is going to represent them. Because I am actually going to be painting more of a picture of what that business is like than any signage could possibly do."
Kaufman’s career performance highlights include keyboardist for the iconic WNY Band, The Road, as well as his 20-year career as the Buffalo Sabres Game Organist and three years as the game organist for The Toronto Blue Jays. He also wrote the score for the Patrick Duffy Movie, “Vamping” and continues to work on a sci-fi rock opera he has titled, “Tuley and Mary.”
In addition to writing jingles, Kaufman has used his talents to create two feature film scores and an Emmy Award-winning documentary. The Lockport resident has also played as the organist for the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Blue Jays and regularly performs as an in-demand keyboardist in the Buffalo music and recording scene.
Kaufman welcomes interested companies to check out www.adsongsjingles.com. There is a bunch of the jingles Kaufman has produced on the website and other information for potential clients to check out.
• To watch Ken Kaufman perform several of his popular jingles, visit lockportjournal.com