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Annual KDFC Radio Station Logo Contest Selects SFCM Winners

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Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) students Declan McLeish and Udit Srivathsan will have their compositions broadcast on-air on KDFC for the next year.

June 28, 2023 by Alex Heigl

Two students are getting a jump-start on hearing their work on the airwaves thanks to SFCM's annual KDFC "sound logo" competition.

TAC students Declan McLeish and Udit Srivathsan—coincidentally the founders of the SFCM Film Scoring Club—were selected as the department's finalists in the annual partnership with KDFC Classical California, the venerable radio station that, in 2019, relocated to SFCM's Bowes Center. The competition is judged by SFCM faculty and executive members of KDFC Classical California.

"This project was exciting for me because I don't come from a classical music background, so writing for a classical radio station was a whole new adventure," McLeish says of the win. "I took inspiration from one of my favorite Romantic era composers, Gustav Mahler."

Declan McLeish

Declan McLeish

Sound logos are short musical themes that typically work as promotional "stings" or "bumps" at the beginning and end of broadcasts. Some of the most famous examples include the Windows 95 startup sound composed by Brian Eno or THX's famous "boom," the latter of which has an SFCM connection in TAC faculty Marco d'Ambrosio, who helped design it.

"Sound logos are such an interesting part of composition because they're so ubiquitous and so important, but you don't really think about what goes into them as a composition or design," d'Ambrosio says. "They're the haiku of music in a way."

D'Ambrosio was McLeish's studio teacher for a year, and McLeish has since put in time as his intern. "I have nothing but good things to say about him," d'Ambrosio said of his student. "He's very motivated and resourceful, and I'm proud of him in terms of what he's been able to do in a short amount of time and hope he keeps going." 

Listen to the past winners of the TAC's KDFC sound logo competition, and learn more about studying technology and applied composition at SFCM.