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"No sports, no rock, no information
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KBBL talk radio."

You're reading TV Tropes at, port 443. Coming up next, an entry on stations announcing themselves.

In broadcasting, it is common (in some instances, legally required) for stations or networks to give some kind of announcement as to what station or network you are watching/listening on. This typically happens just before a feature begins. Many network mascots and logos are born in idents. They also may contain a theme tune, carry a common motif, or carry no common element at all. Sometimes, specific idents may be created for specific events (such as holidays or specific programs). Early idents, which were basic and fairly static, can accidentally be Nightmare Fuel to younger viewers. Shorter versions, which tend to appear in the space between programmes and adverts, are known as Stings, or Break Bumpers.

American broadcast stations are required, under federal law, to declare their call sign and city of license at least once an hour, as close to the top of the hour as is reasonably possible. Obviously radio stations have to announce; a TV station may give it in audio, visual or both. Note this only applies to broadcast stations; a station that is on the Internet or is a cable-only or satellite-based station (Music Choice, Sirius/XM, CNN, USA, HBO, MTV, etc,) do not have call signs and are not required to identify themselves. That said, many do so anyways, in part to mimic the older broadcast format, in part because, well, it's not exactly a bad thing to remind people of what, exactly, they're listening to or watching.

Idents are still quite popular in European television. The BBC has a fairly consistent design of idents across its TV channels, as does ITV and Channel 4. British idents often have a continuity announcer, a disembodied voice note  that informs you of the next program or two and whether you might want to put the kids to bed for this one. British idents aim to entertain or mystify rather than simply inform, and sometimes their onscreen display may be relevant to the content of the show to follow.

By contrast, many commercial broadcasters outside of Europe do not typically use such elaborate continuity, since on-screen bugs for persistent identification have been commonplace since the 1990's, and longer idents would slow the transition between programs, and in turn, cut into valuable commercial time. The standard practice is to air commercials for upcoming programs over the credits of the previous show, with any form of verbal announcement usually done over the Vanity Plate with a generic musical backing. The aforementioned legal identification in the U.S. is often just fine print on a short bumper or promo for a station's syndicated or news programming ("Can TV Tropes ruin your life? Our exclusive investigation, tonight at 11."), or overlaid on-screen through automation. If a channel does have themed idents, they are typically short bumpers with a jingle, and sometimes a slogan/identification. Longer and more elaborate idents were used more often during the early era of television, especially to promote programs being broadcast in the then-new color format, and there are still notable examples of idents still used today (such as HBO's famous Feature Presentation and Original Programming intros). In the late-2010s, the major networks also began to introduce Vanity Plate idents at the beginning of programs identifying shows that are an original series of the broadcaster, which are also carried when the program is syndicated to other outlets (including streaming services).

Many examples can be found at the blog, which covers this kind of stuff with a vengeance. Audio clips of U.S. and Canadian radio station identifications can be heard at Top of the Hour. The Ident Gallery has videos of some of the British ones mentioned here.

American Examples:

  • NBC had the iconic "snake" animation for its previous logo, followed by the introduction of a special ident with a multi-colored peacock to denote programs that were "brought to you in living color on NBC." It began as a static slide in 1956, was replaced by an animated version the following year, and replaced by a new version in 1962; once NBC's lineup was entirely in color, it was used to denote original productions.
    • In 1975, NBC introduced the first computer-animated ident in U.S. television with a new logo consisting of red and blue trapezoids forming an "N". Said logo was the subject of a lawsuit from Nebraska Educational Television, who spent only $150 to have a very similar logo designed for them (NBC's version reportedly cost $1 million!). In 1979, after research found that many people had associated NBC with the peacock (despite not technically being its main logo), a variation of the trapezoid N with a version of the peacock (the "Proud N") became their primary logo. A six-feathered version (by Chermayeff and Geismar) debuted in 1986.
    • Before The Tonight Show during Jay's first tenure, "NBC, America's late night leader!"
  • The identity of CBS has always revolved around its "eyemark" logo; it is the longest tenured network TV logo in the United States, debuting in 1951. It was designed by William Golden. In 2020, the network adopted a formal ident and sounder (inspired by the network's historic station identification "This is CBS") as part of a larger cross-division rebranding, which features an animation using deconstructed shapes from the eye logo itself.
  • 97.1FM WDRV The Drive in Chicago doesn't have a particularly-unusual ident...except that it's read by their morning DJ Steve Downes, known to everybody outside Chicago as Master Chief.
  • From 1998 to 2001, ABC used bumpers and promos with a minimalist style, often incorporating yellow and black geometric patterns and greyscale photos of its stars, along with the tagline "We Love TV" or "America's (#1) Broadcasting Company". The network's "Start Here" branding featured bumpers and promos with glossy 3D discs adorned with symbols, representing different device platforms, such as TV, PCs, mobile, etc. The "Start Here" scheme was dropped in 2013 for a more cinematic look, with the main logo gaining a less complex gloss and new color variations (the butterscotch/gold-tinted version got the most screen time as the network's main bug. Red and steel blue versions were also common, especially among sports and news respectively, but they were otherwise interchangable). In 2018, another new scheme was introduced, now with concentric circle motifs, and the color variations dropped in favor of just the black/grey version.
  • HBO's 1980s "Feature Presentation" is almost certainly the most recognized American ident of the cable/satellite age, which is a bit odd when you consider it's a pay channel to which a lot of people don't subscribe. A 21st century refresh, by Pittard Sullivan, made an even more complex city in CGI that is zoomed through before the message appears and a quickened version of the theme plays.
  • "This is CNN."
    • Revived in 2013 after a hiatus. There were also versions with CNN anchors delivering the famous phrase as well, such as Anderson Cooper.
  • Nickelodeon, in the 1980s and well into the 1990s, created dozens of animated and live-action station IDs with its amorphous orange logo in various shapes. The most famous set of such idents featured the vocal contributions of Eugene Pitt and his doo-wop group The Jive Five, who originated the classic "Nick Nick Nick" jingle still in use today. The logo of a quarter-century was dispensed of in 2009, however.
    • There was the pinball that bounced around the world, before they dropped the blob on us in 1984.
  • Cartoon Network has had a number of afternoon blocks over the years which typically feature CGI hosts as continuity announcers. On the other hand, continuity in [adult swim] has no voices at all.
    • Episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network featured characters from the series in front of the regular logo. One starred R2-D2 "accidentally" knocking over a couple of letters to leave "Artoo Network".
    • [adult swim] uses text to direct talk to its audience in the "bumps". The formal sign on of the sub-channel is the parental discretion notice.
    • [adult swim] also had quite a few other ones, usually strange Japanese images and text for the Saturday night Anime block, but now they've outdone themselves with some truly surreal tags of hands coming out of computers, poor quality 3D and digital voices, and a fetus opening its eyes and shining laser beams. It's always accompanied by a "You are now watching [adult swim]" or other logo like any... more ordinary station ident.
  • Syfy: Before the name change, they had an ident campaign where the letters "iF" sat in the air. Something ordinary came up and upon making contact with the letters transformed into something amazing, and the iF would expand to the name 'Sci Fi.' Many different firms were responsible for these IDs. The current IDs were done by Proud Creative and feature various objects forming the Syfy logo.
  • The CW originally had idents and bumpers evoking the shape of its logo, with a lot of curved stripes in green, white, and orange.
  • National Educational Television, had a logo from 1966 to 1968 with the top of the "T" being a mesh globe with an actual flame inside it. Its previous logo was reinstated afterward, with an animated ident featuring the letters animating in, and a house roof forming above it (connecting to the T).
    • Its successor, PBS, began with a simple, logoless slide, before adopting its first real logo and ident in 1971, a stabilization of the initials with the "P" resembling a human head. The "Everyman" logo was designed by Herb Lubalin, whose best known work is probably the ITC Avant Garde Gothic typeface. The current logo first came about in 1984, depicting the "P" from the previous logo flipped to the right and with two other profiles (one formed in negative space) to resemble a group of people (symbolizing the concept of public television); this rendition was designed by Chermayeff & Geismar, also known for the Chase logo and the aforementioned 1986 NBC peacock. Since 1998, this mark has been rendered on a circle; for a time, there were national bumpers with people jumping around the circled logo (held by a person as a prop). The network's presentation in the mid-2000's to 2019 used a more cinematic look, typically with the slogan "Be More PBS". In 2019, PBS underwent a major revamp with a focus on digital, tweaking the logo and dropping the "slab" font for a more modern sans-serif look, changing the network's main colors to bright blue and white, and adopting the current flat design trend (after having used a myriad of glossy and color-tinted versions of the circle logo not unlike ABC).
    • PBS Kids had "The P-Pals" from 1993-1998, which were more cartoony versions of the "P" logo. Their slogan was the same as the regular station, but sung as, "This is, PBS!". The loud voices were considered Nightmare Fuel when they were still on air, but now a classic for any '90s kid. In 1999, The P-Pals were replaced by two green kids who only said, "doink!". Still in use, they are popular with small children, though a bit disliked by fans of the P-Pals.
    • One of PBS's most prominent members, WGBH in Boston, had used its famous Vanity Plate as an ident too.
  • Disney Channel had some fairly creative ones from the 80's through the early 90's. The present-day ones combine this trope with Ad Bumpers.
  • MTV turned this into an art form, featuring animated shorts, guest appearances by stars, you name it — half the fun of watching in The '80s was seeing what creative/wacky new ident would come up. Here's a sampler.
  • The sports divisions of the major networks tend to have long idents used to introduce their telecasts, which are typically montages that flaunt the major leagues and events they hold rights to, culminating with their most significant (such as CBS with The Masters and the NCAA basketball tournament, Fox with The World Cup and World Series, and NBC with the Olympic Games). At least one of them will often culminate in mentioning that they're broadcasting the Super Bowl this year. The only major network who doesn't have such an extravagant ident is ABC, since the official dismantling of ABC Sports and its replacement by "ESPN on ABC" (although ESPN on ABC does have a short ident, seen at the top of broadcasts, and occasionally as a bumper during the broadcast itself).
    • On a related note, the National Football League has a contractual requirement for all of its broadcasters to air a short ident before kickoff and after the game, treated by the league as the official beginning and end of a game telecast — given that everything in between is subjected to various oversight rules and copyright ownership by the league (the latter excluding ESPN for some reason — maybe because no one ever takes intellectual property from Disney and gets away with it). As with the above, one of these vanity plates will also traditionally boast that the network is the that year's Super Bowl broadcaster, when appropriate.
    • Some other U.S. sports leagues have followed their lead with a similar requirement (such as the NHL), while some particularly major sporting events (primarily The World Cup and UEFA Champions League) have intro sequences (the latter featuring the competition's famous Title Theme Tune, and both typically including an Enforced Plug or two for an official sponsor) that are required to air at the beginning and end of the telecast.
  • Since the late-2010's, multiple networks (particularly CBS and NBC) have reintroduced front-caps to identify their original programming, in order to help build awareness of their role in programming that may have been licensed to third-party outlets such as streaming services.
  • A non-commercial application of the trope is commonly found in most types of Two-Way Radio, per FCC requirements and generally accepted best practice. When you transmit, you identify yourself and whoever you are trying to talk to. This applies both to professionals such as police officers and fighter pilots, as well as amateurs such as CB and Ham radio operators. Some radios, usually radio repeaters, are programmed to automatically transmit their callsign, often in Morse code or with an automated message giving information such as the current time every so often to meet FCC requirements.

Canadian Examples:

  • The CBC has had several of these through the years, perhaps none more iconic than the "Exploding Pizza" from 1974 to 1985.
  • CTV's overall design since 1998 has frequently featured red, green, and blue ribbons around Canadian landscapes (representing the three shapes in its logo, and its three major divisions at the time; entertainment, news, and sports. Though CTV shuttered its own sports division when it bought TSN), often attached to the back of the CTV logo itself. Other bumpers at the time featured personalities of CTV's programming interacting with the logo as three-dimensional shapes (such as using the "C" as a ball).
    • Their 2011 redesign shifted from landscapes to more of a blue and white look, but the ribbon logo was still there. CTV adopted a revised logo in 2018, along with a new flat look.
  • A-Channel, which became CTV's sister network in an acquisition (later A and now CTV Two), had idents featuring the channel's distinct stylized "A" forming in places (such as on the side of a road, and a formation of migrating birds)
    • In its current form as CTV Two, its on-air presentation is nearly identical to CTV itself.
  • Multicultural station CHNM in Vancouver (which got bought by Rogers and turned into an Omni station) used to have bumpers showing scenes mixing mainstream culture and ethnic culture; such as a Sikh riding a motorcycle backed by Indian-infused rock, and one featuring lion dancers dressed in the colors of the local Canadian Football League team, the BC Lions.
  • Toronto independent station CITY-TV had probably one of the best known examples in Canada of this, featuring looks at various locations in and around the city (emphasizing its slogan, "Everywhere"), famously voiced by the late Mark Dailey.

British Examples:

  • BBC One:
    • From the 1960s up until 1997, BBC1 used various renditions of a rotating globe. The mechanical "Mirror Globe" was used from 1969 to 1985 (initially in black and white, but later keyed in blue on black, and later yellow on blue, after the introduction of colour television), the CGI "Computer Originated World" from 1985 to 1991, and a spruced up CGI globe with shadows and smoke and the numeral "1" inside. Designed by Lambie-Nair, this globe was in use from 1991 to 1997; its exit coincided with a massive revamp of the BBC's identity. These idents have sometimes been revived for certain Retraux or period piece series and specials, such as Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes (which used the black and blue Mirror Globe used between 1969 and 1974), and the 2017 special Children in Need Rocks the '80s (which used the third blue and lime-green version used between 1981 and 1985). They were mostly digital re-creations (complete with the regional captions where applicable), but BBC One Wales went the extra mile for Life on Mars and dug out their original Mirror Globe model for it.
    • From 1997 to 2002, Lambie-Nairn designed idents depicting an orange and red hot-air balloon in the likeness of a globe flying around various landscapes. They switched to a series known as Rhythm & Movement in 2002 (also produced by Lambie-Nairn), featuring people in dancing or moving in synch with a heavy dose of red in their clothing or on the set, and all of these idents had variations on the same tune. These were often attacked by viewers as boring. It didn't help that they opted not to use an on-screen clock (one was reportedly designed), leaving them in the lurch without a really serious ident (aside from the "ballet" one) when the Queen Mother died the day after the new look debuted.
    • As a nod to the round shape of the globe, the idents used between 2006 and 2016 focused around round objects or things moving in a circle. Some of these were also used on BBC America, albeit in truncated forms. The "circles" idents were done by Red Bee Media, and were much better-received by audiences for providing a much more cohesive identity for the network while also paying homage to the classic globe.
    • 2017 saw the launch of the "Oneness" idents, which featured scenes of group activities directed by photographer Martin Parr, such as exercise, sports, dancers, dog walkers with sausage dogs, and occupations. Critical reception to the idents were overwhelmingly negative, with some considering them to be cheap and dull.
      • These were suspended in 2020 when the country was locked down due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, as a result, none of the were allowed to happen. In their place came collages of people in their house or garden doing similar activities, such as sports teammates continuing their training at home or people dancing in their home to music, "reflecting what we're all going through". The regular ones described above returned in July 2021, when England lifted most of its restrictions.
    • 2022 saw a return to a circle-oriented theme with "lens" idents, which carry over aspects of "Oneness" and the former BBC HD (see below). Each ident consists of three scenes rotating around a specific venue/location, showing different activities happening at that location. One of these scenes is used as the main ident, while views of the other two scenes slide through a circular "lens" in the centre of the screen (i.e. a scene of skateboarders in an indoor warehouse, but with the lens showing an art class and dance party happening at the same location), evoking the behaviour of the former "mirror globe". Each of the three scenes in each location are interchangeable, so that different variations can be shown based on the time of day/etc. (i.e. a different version of the warehouse ident had the dance party as the main scene, with the skateboarders moving to the lens). Foreground elements of each scene can also pass over logos/captions on the screen.
      • They were officially launched (no joke) on 1 April 2022, but were originally intended to launch alongside a major rebrand of the BBC in October 2021 (there were reportedly internal complaints that the initial set of idents were too London-centric). When the rebrand occurred, the Oneness idents were retrofitted into the new presentation elements introduced across the main channels (including new seamless transitions and layouts for idents where the BBC logo and channel name appear at the top- and bottom-centre of the screen respectively), while that year's Shaun the Sheep-themed Christmas idents had elements suggesting they were meant to go with the eventual Lens idents.
  • BBC Two
    • For the majority of its existence, the channel has used animated number 2s (the two exceptions being between 1986 and 1991, which opted for a colourful "TWO" that rose from or sunk into a white background, and from 2018 onward, which employed a curved line bringing to mind the shape of a 2). The most famous version of the "2" was a sans-serif digit used between 1991 and 2018 (albeit with a minor alteration in shape in 2007).
    • In particular, the idents used between 1991 and 2001, by Lambie-Nairn, are cult classics. The series consisted of the shape of a 2 appearing in some kind of surreal or arty sequence.
      • Lambie-Nairn revamped the 2 in 2001. In this set of idents, the 2 was a yellow sentient being in a yellow void. In one ident, it sprouts a flamethrower with which it burns up its environment; in another it sprouts arms and flips around the "BBC TWO" square (which is backwards before 2 flips it); and in another, it tries to get several 2s to knock into each other as if they were dominoes, but one falls the wrong direction. There were many more, and they were all dropped in 2007 after concerns that they were too cheerful and not really appropriate for serious programming.
      • In 2007, the "Window on the World" idents were launched, which saw the 2 represented as a window or cut-out to various scenery. Often related to the show about to premiere, expect to see the 2 shape as a car sunroof or side mirror before Top Gear. An ident of a tent door in the shape of a 2 unzipping open revealed many other tents outside to open broadcasts of the Glastonbury outdoor music festival. The tent ident also has varying levels of daylight outside, which seems to reflect the current time in Britain. Unfortunately, it downplayed the humor of the 2 by depicting it as an inanimate object in different forms to appeal to serious programmes; some fans were not happy about this and it only got worse twice (first in 2009, then in 2013). In July 2014, the 1991-2001 idents were revived alongside the current set (and a few special ones) to mark the channel's 50th anniversary. The Window on the World set was retired completely in November 2014 in favor of a full, second run for the 1991-2001 idents.
      • BBC Two has also been known to commission show-specific idents to go before programmes, including Wallace & Gromit and Heroes, in which the 2 numeral gets eclipsed in a perfectly duplicated effect to the way the earth does in the show's opening credits. In 1998, Red Dwarf Night had a series of idents in which a robotic 2 (similar to the later yellow version) fell in love with a Skutter.
      • BBC One also copied this for Christmas idents following their circular theme with Wallace & Gromit again in Christmas 2008note , Doctor Who in Christmas 2009note , The Gruffalo's Child in Christmas 2011 and Shrek, The Princess and the Frog and Up in Christmas 2012, and Toy Story in Christmas 2013. Having taken note from the flaws of the aforementioned sentient 2 idents, all of these also have character-less variations introducing the news and serious programmesnote 
      • The former BBC 2W (a primetime opt-out block of BBC Two in Wales on digital television) had a clever deconstruction of the "logo box" element common to BBC One and Two's presentation of the time, by having it exist physically within a scene but still falling in the same spot it usually lies (such as on a garage door opened by someone, the brand on a beer tap, or lighting up as part of a Christmas display). From the introduction of the "Window on the World" idents and being folded entirely in 2009 in favour of BBC Two Wales, 2W simply used the standard BBC Two idents. Around the time the block went on-air, there was also a variation of the aforementioned "backwards logo" ident with the BBC Two logo being flipped to 2W.
    • As of September 2018, BBC Two now uses animated idents depicting a variety of surreal or artistic sequences, all following the screen template of a curved line roughly taking the shape of a number 2 going down the middle of the screen. This series was designed by Lambie-Nairn's successor company Superunion and animated by various artists from across the worldwide art domain and the British VFX industry (up to and including Aardman Animations), enabling a multitude of disparate animation styles across the idents.
  • BBC Three's idents were a bit more abstract than the above, and heavy on CGI. The channel's idents originally featured skits involving a cast of CGI "blob" characters on or around a giant version of its wordmark, voiced with clips from the BBC's archives. With its relaunch in 2022, their idents are now pretty much a spiritual successor to the BBC Two "personality" series, this time featuring a crew of three Helping Hands getting into mischief.
  • BBC Four's are even more abstract; the original ident was basically a computer-generated 3D waveform of the continuity announcer's voice, meaning that no two idents were ever exactly alike. In 2005, it was replaced by idents which begin as a seemingly singular scene, but is then split into asymmetric quadrants that create a surreal effect (such as an overhead shot of a cherry blossom tree which turns into four individual shots of it, and people jumping into a swimming pool but at different times—with the water only rippling in their respective quadrant).
    • Although they do not follow the quadrant theme, idents from special programming events have also been added to the regular rotation — including idents from Japan, Space, and internet ("Born Digital", inspired by "oddly satisfying" videos, mainly involving close-ups of things such as paint on a speaker, things being sliced, and so on) seasons.
  • BBC HD, the BBC channel which aired high-definition shows before being replaced by an HD version of BBC Two in 2013, had its own set of unique idents. In them a rather ordinary scene is shown (such a boy fishing, or an Asian couple sitting on a park bench). A diamond-shaped pane enters the screen, and through the pane a dramatised, fun, over-the-top, colourful, high-definition version of the scene is seen. For example, a queue for the ice-cream truck viewed through the HD pane is a musical song-and-dance number. These usually ended with the BBC HD logo.
  • The new BBC Scotland channel features scenes from various locales with a glassy version of the channel's emblem filling with liquid.
  • BBC News has two major idents: a 15-second animation of radio waves emanating over the globe, and a minute-long montage of CG news transmissions making their way to the BBC News Centre, both accompanied by techno-style music that wouldn't be out of place at an apocalyptic rave.
    • The latter is referred to as the Countdown and has changed a lot over the past ten years since the red paint job and David Lowe music was introduced. Countdowns are common on internationally-focused news channels, BBC's World News channel for the rest of the world has its own countdown focusing mainly on that channel's anchors. Sky News Australia and France24 also have their own countdowns.
    • The BBC News countdown used to end with a shot of Television Centre, reflecting the current time of day. When the channel moved studios in March 2013 the music was revamped and new shots of Broadcasting House were used.
  • BBC America used a red, white and blue balloon before changing to the logo on a maroon background accompanied by generic music.
  • As of 2013, ITV's four stations tend to be live-action based with ITV's being more down-to-earth while ITV2 and ITV4 have more of a comedic edge. The sole exception is ITV3, which is CGI-animated with 2D-cutouts in a 3D-snowglobe. From January 2019 to November 2022, the idents consisted of visual interpretations of the ITV logo by a showcased artist, with a new one used each week.
    • In 2022, ITV adopted a new set of unified idents for all of its channels as part of a company-wide rebranding. Taking a page from BBC One's Lens idents, they feature different scenes filmed at common locations, but the scenes are different based on the channel and their programming (with ITV 1 being more down-to-earth or entertaining, ITV 2 and ITV Be being more silly, ITV 3 having more "cinematic" scenes, and ITV 4 having allusions to films and sports).
    • In the days when ITV was a single regionalized network, the Vanity Plates from the various regional stations often doubled up as station IDs on local programmes.
    • STV — currently the only ITV region not owned by ITV plc — has idents with sets of three scenes showing people engaged in a common activity, evoking the triangle in the channel's logo. Northern Ireland's ITV service, Ulster Television (UTV), continued to have its own idents showcasing the local scenery (as well as "in-vision" continuity with announcers appearing on-screen as hosts) until 2016, when it was sold to ITV and took on an adapted version of ITV's national branding.
  • Channel 4's idents have generally been focused on their blocky "4" logo (which the exception of between 1996 and 2004):
    • The original Channel 4 idents from the 1980s consisted of coloured blocks flying together to make the "4". The 2004-2015 logos pay homage to the originals by having the logo come together from various objects and then fly apart as the camera moves past.
    • The 2004-2015 set liked to use heavy CGI to make flybys and zoom-throughs of real locations where objects at different distance appear to form the channel's logo in an optical illusion. One is at the top of this entry, and that's one of the EASIER ones.
    • The 2015-2017 set of idents, directed by Jonathan Glazer (Under the Skin), have taken the blocks to an abstract extreme. The logo itself is never actually seen but the block shapes that are associated with the logo are depicted as crystals in water, rocks and whatever the hell that dancing thing is.
    • The idents from 2017-2023 don't show the logo itself neither but feature a friendly giant silver humanoid whose body is made by the blocks shapes interacting with the British populace. The diverse crowds that it meets and its shouting annoying a town's populace are respectively representative of Channel 4 providing (to quote its page on this wiki) "a platform for programmes catering to minorities such as audiences of colour, people with disabilities" and its penchant for causing controversy.
      • Another alternative set used alongside the above two main sets shows the blocks flying around on a colourful background forming the shapes such as a clock or Homer Simpson.
    • In 2023, Channel 4 introduced new idents built around a theme of "modern Britain", in which a camera loops through various themed scenes built around the Channel 4 logo, zooming through the side of the block on its base to transition to the next scene.
    • During its focus on "intelligent and insightful" programming in the 2005-2012 period, sister channel More4 did some screensaver-like effects with the logo's elements. After rebranding into a lifestyle channel in 2012, its idents consist of mechanical scrapbooks littering live-action locales
    • 4Music has had several sets, including an Elevator Gag.
    • Film4's idents are tropes themselves, including Slow-Motion Drop, Chase Scene and Soft Glass. Expect a lot of Bullet Time.
    • E4's idents are Deranged Animation, and they used to have a regular competition to create new surreal cartoons that end with the E4 logo.
  • Channel 5's spinoff Fiver (now called 5STAR) likes bright pastels on a black background. Their continuity announcers are prone to commenting on the previous programme and engaging in occasional snark.
    • 5USA uses numerous Eagleland subtropes, with the current identity featuring montages of scenes of various U.S. cities, landmarks, and landscapes.
    • The UK version of Spike run by 5 has scenes evoking the diagonal stripe in the channel's logo, where a character becomes more more cinematic and action-y when it enters a diagonal "stripe" (such as a man running into it and turning into a hawk, a wolf turning into an astronaut, etc.)
  • Digital Freeview comedy channel Dave had a group of people engaged in non-sequitur hijinks in and around a mansion before a show began from launch in 2007 until a rebranding in 2014.
  • After migrating from abstract idents with its logo, S4C in Wales had a string of idents through the 90's and early 2000's that had dragons as a theme (playing upon the country's flag), mainly inanimate objects breathing fire or otherwise acting like a dragon. This was then replaced by a new series of idents themed around magnetism (with groups of objects appearing in a single area), and later accompanied by what were essentially a live-action version of BBC Four's early "dynamic" idents.

Australian Examples:

  • The ABC logo is probably the most famous of our lot, being a distinctive Lissajous curve or "squiggle", created to reference the network's radio origins. It is the only logo to have survived virtually intact since its inception, with the only major changes being the general design (it's now best explained as being a flat worm).

Japanese Examples

  • Nippon Television (NTV) has used a sign-on and sign-off ID for many years which features a bird spreading its wings much like the first NBC peacock (though it was originally not in color until 1972).

New Zealand Examples

  • Aside from the usual mundane idents, the Goodnight Kiwi animated short on TVNZ stations TV1 and TV2 was an especially cute example. It played back when the stations closed down transmission for the night, from 1979 until 1994 when TVNZ switched to 24-hour broadcasting.

Dutch Examples

  • Dutch broadcaster TROS (one of the constituents of the Netherlands' public broadcasting organization, the NPO) has had some of the more iconic idents (also known as a "leader" in Dutch), featuring an eight-pointed star with a television-shaped square in the middle. One of their end-of-broadcast idents that was used in the mid-to-late eighties was recorded as the longest idents at the time, spanning over at least a whole minute. One of their more famous theme tunes used in idents in the early nineties had the slogan "Doe mee met de makers, kom bij de TROS!" (Join the creators, come to the TROS!)
  • Nederland 3 initially had BBC Two-esque idents with its 3 logo, but then transitioned to a very trippy look in the late-90's and early-2000's, with a slew of animated, multi-colour stripes with tiled patterns of 3's, the logos of the members who broadcast on 3 at the time, and other symbols related to programs. A 2003 rebranding used idents themed around the shape of its new logo, featuring various live-action scenes and visual sequences with heavy pixilation, but using diamond-shaped pixels.
  • Due to the structure of the NPO (which oversees its channels, but assigns broadcast time to a group of member organizations that, in turn, produce or acquire programmes that fulfill their respective scopes), even commercial breaks are considered to be the responsibility of a broadcaster known as the Stichting Ether Reclame (or Ster for short). Ster itself was famous for idents (though in this case more of an Eye Catch) at the beginning and end of breaks featuring the character of Loeki the Lion. While the Loeki bumpers and shorts were discontinued in the mid-2000's due to production costs and to provide more time for commercials, there have been one-off revivals (such as in 2021 during the Eurovision Song Contest hosted by the country) to take advantage of nostalgia for the character among the Dutch public.

Brazil Examples

  • The logo of TV Globo (formerly Rede Globo) — the country's biggest broadcaster — is a metallic sphere (representing the Earth) with a cut-out of a television screen containing a second sphere. Comparable to the CBS eye, the logo was first introduced in 1976 with a blue and white color scheme (replacing a logo consisting of a wireframe globe and seven interconnected circles, representing the network's seven stations at the time), before going to a chrome look in 1980, and the first iteration of its present form — with said television cutout containing a rainbow-colored fill — in 1986.
    • By the 1980's, the network's idents had started to heavily utilize CGI, while the logo itself became increasingly intricate in its appearance as 3D graphics technology (such as ray tracing) evolved. By the 21st century, the network had introduced "glass" idents featuring a translucent version of the logo forming atop aerial footage of various locations. In 2008, the network began to backtrack on the intricate logo, going for a simpler chrome finish with a purple tint, the cut-out switched to a rectangle to reflect digital television, and the rainbow fill now having a scanline effect. In 2014, the network introduced an even simpler version with a white, "plastic" appearance, and began to increase its use of two-dimensional logos and flat design. Even then, the idents themselves continued to maintain the overall style and cinematic feel of idents from the late 20th century — a byproduct of their long-time art chief Hans Donner (who designed the globe logo). With his retirement, the network's new designers began to roll out another major revamp in December 2021, which finally broke away from their increasingly-dated presentation style with a softer logo carrying color schemes for different genres of programming.
    • Their most well-known presentation element is the "plim-plim" — an Eye Catch which features the logo pinging with a sonar-like sounder. As shown in the montage, these have included both traditional eyecatches, as well as shorts by Brazilian animators that feature the logo and/or sounder in various ways.

Portugal Examples

  • The commercial broadcaster SIC has had Globo as a long-time content partner, and was one of its initial shareholders. It's no surprise that the aforementioned Hans Donner also did a logo for them, consisting of a front view of a horseshoe-like 3D shape, with its two ends having an angled "S" and "C", and an "I" floating in between. Until the mid-90's, its on-air usage pretty much mirrored Globo's presentation of the era, to the point that its Image Song sequence was literally a recycled montage of CGI sequences from Rede Globo idents and program intros. The channel did manage to break away from this style in later years, with later idents featuring the logo shape as a container with items pertaining to an ident falling out of the "C" end, or the logo spinning to show the other side of a scene.

Fictional Examples Within Other Media:

  • BBC One's idents are frequently the target of Take That! on other shows, sometimes on the BBC itself, either as a statement on the quality of the shows or on the network's branding image. As the channel introduced the Movement & Rhythm idents, BBC Three's adult toon show Monkey Dust frequently made fun of them. Another comedy spoofed the circles motif by plastering the BBC One name over footage from a colonoscopy camera.
    • In a similar vein, topical live-action comedy satire Dead Ringers used to occasionally parody the idents' announcer, featuring the original ident with a new comical commentary.
    • Monty Python's Flying Circus regularly spoofs the BBC One globe idents and continuity announcements. Most famous examples:
      Announcer: We interrupt this program to annoy you and make things generally irritating.
      Announcer: It's 8 o'clock and time for the news now on BBC Two, with on BBC One, me telling you this.
      Announcer: Well, it's five past nine, and nearly time for six past nine. On BBC Two it will shortly be 6½ minutes past nine. Later on this evening it will be 10 o'clock, and at 10:30 we'll be joining BBC Two in time for 10:33. And don't forget tomorrow, when it'll be 9:20. Those of you who missed 8:45 on Friday will be able to see it again this Friday at a quarter to nine.
      • Another Python opening uses the world-famous Thames ident in its original context, as their continuity announcer runs down the station line-up before disparaging the BBC fare that is next.
    • BBC Scotland football sketch show Only An Excuse? ended one episode in the balloon era with the balloon forming the bald head of Scottish football comentator Chick Young.
  • The WKRP in Cincinnati Theme Tune is meant to resemble this.
    • The video to the credits even looks like an old community ident for a TV affiliate until the roll call begins.
    • and don't forget "WKRP,with more music, and Les Nesmann"
  • When the Earth blows up at the end of Goodies episode "Earthanasia", it cuts to the BBC 1 mirror globe ident. Then that blows up, too.
  • The song Doowutchyalike by Digital Underground has a break-down near the end, and a woman announcing that the song is giving radio stations a few seconds to play their station identifications.
  • "You're listening to Qwerpline here on QWRP FM."
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000, for the first season of the Netflix revival (aka season 11) had episodes broken up by brief bits that were reminiscent of the Ad Bumpers from older seasons (despite not having any commercial breaks on Netflix) but also pulled double-duty as station idents.
    Max: You're watching MST3K, Moon 13, the Moon!
  • Secret Chiefs 3's album Book of Souls: Folio A, all the even-numbered tracks are short instrumentals with titles implying they're stock music used by fictitious radio and TV stations. One of these is a compilation of station ident music: "Barzakh ID Markers (AIO Radio Narcissus)".
  • Saturday Night Live: The "Wayne's World", "The Continental", and "Church Chat" sketches opened with the "Cable 10 Public Access" bumper card and "You're watching Cable 10, Public Access" voiceover by Phil Hartman, which was still used in subsequent iterations of the sketches after Hartman's death in 1998.
  • "Hey out there! This is Tokyo's very own, #1 pirate powerstation, Jet Set Radio!"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Station Identification


Channel 4

Channel 4 launched on November 2, 1982 with six idents known for their revolutionary use of CGI. Shown here is "Interlock".

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Main / StationIdent

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