PEPPER RECORDS / DIANA RECORDS / TOM TOM RECORDS - Pepper Sound Studios, started at 62 Diana Street and later moved to 51 South Florence Street in Memphis, Tennessee, was an early syndicator of radio station jingles and began sometime in 1957. It began as a record company created by businessman and WDIA radio co-owner John R. Pepper and songwriter Floyd Huddleston. Huddleston worked as vice-president, based the company on the model of Capitol Records and even brought in Johnny Mercer as a consultant and Berl Olswanger as musical director. Two singles were firstb released on Pepper Records, ''Everygood'' b/w ''Gonna Build A Mountain'' (Pepper 896) by Norma Brock and The Keynoters and ''Cravin'''b/w ''Ooh Yeah, Baby, Ooh Yeah'' (Pepper 908) by Wayne Hefner''. Composers Al Rinker and Willard Robison were hired, until the records end was eventually phased out, and by 1964, Pepper Studios exclusively become a Jingle Commercial company.
Their first jingle was for John Pepper's company ''Everdry Deodorant'', followed by ''Burke Hall Paint'' and hundreds of others. William Tanner was a salesman for the company and quickly weaseled his way into becoming one of the owners of the company, and Pepper and Tanner worked Floyd Huddleston out. The company became known as Pepper-Tanner about 1967. In 1972, Bill Tanner worked John Pepper out the same way he had Huddleston, and the name was changed once again to The William B. Tanner Company, or simply Tanner for short.
In 1982, Media General, owner of newspapers as well as broadcasting and cable TV companies, bought the William B. Tanner Company for cash. David L. Jordan, vice president of Media General, said it was primarily interested in Tanner because of its expertise in the programming area. Some of the stations that commissioned Pepper Tanner jingles were WPOP, WLIF, WLS, WOLF, WVLK and WPGC.
It was later divested in 1988 and the ID jingles, syndication reels and production libraries of Media General Broadcast Services were acquired by TM studios. Media Generals' operations in Memphis was shut down and the master backing tracks and sound libraries were boxed up and shipped to the TM studios in Dallas. All of the reference reels for the syndicated ID Jingles and customized production libraries and commercials were dumped in Memphis. TM Studios has placed these reels in the custody of Media Preservation Foundation, though the copyrights are retained by TM Studios. The production libraries were cherry-picked and incorporated in various TM Studios libraries still sold to this day via TM and Ben Freedman Productions.
In 1985, William Tanner was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud and three counts of filing false income tax returns. In 2005, at age 74, Tanner was again sentenced to another 5 years after bribing a chancery court judge who presided over a lawsuit in which Tanner was the defendant, and ultimately died on December 1, 2005 in Memphis, Tennessee of Colon cancer at the age of 75.
John R. Pepper died after an extended illness at Saint Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee on November 20, 2006 at the age of 91.
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