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January 2, 2007
Change of tune for TV news

Hey, if your favorite local newscast is playing a different theme song, it's all because of a copyright case too complicated (and tedious) to detail here.

So, as faux pundit Stephen Colbert might say, "all you need to know":

The familiar theme songs for Fox40's 10 p.m. newscast and the newscasts of Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" and Channel 13 have changed. (Those three stations used songs composed by Stephen Arnold Music, a key figure in the copyright dispute.)

"We had to decide by the end of the year whether to keep the music or change it to avoid additional charges," says Audrey Farrington, Fox40's honcho. "We sort of knew this was coming, so we were prepared. I don't really think it sounds that much different."

Judge for yourself whether Fox40's new theme is similar to the old; go here. (Just click on the music note to hear the old "News Matrix" song and the new "In-Sink" song.)

Over at channels 31 and 13, news honcho Steve Charlier says the new themes that the stations are currently using are "just placeholders" until permanent themes are finished. Charlier has hired local music composer "Bongo" Bob Smith to write new music.

"We aren't thrilled to have to change music after spending so long getting the right sound for (Channel 13)," Charlier says. "But we just couldn't get a definitive answer as to how much additional we'd have to pay for licensing."

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