My Life as a DJ

Radio announcers, radio programmers, disc jockey, deejay, DJ, disc jock – these are some of the several other names referring to a person who entertains the audience by playing a recorded music either on air via the radio, or live. The name has evolved through the years and now they are popularly called DJs, from the combination of disc which means disc record and jockey, which means a machine operator. DJs were first known as the people behind the cool voice in radio stations, the one who plays a requested song. They were given a small room which becomes their studio. Aside from playing music for radio listeners, they also talk about the weather condition, current events and sports news, and would also talk about topics other than music. A full-time disc jockey works for a minimum of four hours five to six hours a week.

Disc jockeys are supposed to be good talkers. I became one because I have been good with talking even before my DJ years. You should be able to talk about anything under the sun. In order to do so, you must be updated with current events and most especially with music. You should be able to keep track of the happenings of a music artist so that it would be easy to discuss about the particular artist on air and even with a live audience. More often than not, DJs goes on-air without a script, in other words, spontaneity comes with the job. No matter how engrossed you are with a particular topic, you should also be vigilant with the time allotted to you, to fit everything on your time which includes, talk, commercial and music. Air time is quite expensive, not only in television but in radios, too, so you have to do your act right on schedule.

DJ booths are equipped with tools for playing music and adjusting sound. A more elaborate station may include more advanced equipment to make better sounding music. There are several techniques that are used by disc jockeys to get a better blending and mixing of recorded music, they include:

Cueing Equalization Audio Mixing (Mixing from two or more sources)

These techniques are used by the DJs in creating a more complex kind of music. Although the complexity of creating a specially recorded music depends mostly on the availability of equipment in the DJs booth, it does not hinder them from discovering new blending and new transition.

I realized that being a disc jockey is not only about talking on air every day. There are aspects of being a DJ other than being confined in the four walls of a radio booth. Being a disc jockey is being able to explore the music world in a different light. You can be a disc jockey in several other fields.

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Radio DJs

The first radio DJ was first heard in the early 1900s. Back then, radio broadcasting included the airing of live or pre-recorded music.  Radio DJs focuses mostly on entertaining listeners, introducing new sound and playing them through the radio station. They are also in-charge to do other tasks including short spot reports, a little bit of news, and some other important announcements.  Apart from simple mixing of music, they do not usually focus on them unlike with club DJs who rely on the smooth transition in-between songs with the use of several techniques.

Club DJ

What you commonly see in nightclubs, bars raves or parties is the club DJ. They select and play music using multiple turntables to create a more danceable tune.  Club DJs would employ the turntable techniques which include slip-cueing, phrasing and beatmatching. In the 1930s to the 1950s, some composers experimented in using the turntable to create an experimental sound. Instead of using an ordinary musical instrument, these composers turned to turntable to come up with a more modern music. Today, the technique is more commonly known as turntablism and can be observed distinctively in hip hop type of songs.

Mobile DJs

Once I was done as an employee at CheckMaid, I decided to get into DJ’ing as a mobile DJ. Mobile DJs entertain audience in any part of the city. They are not confined in one place or station because they bring along with them portable sound system. They play music in various types of events, in various places. Majority of professional disc jockeys belong to this type.

Video Jockey

VJ or video jockey became popular in the 1980s when MTV, a cable television network, was launched. The program was devoted to music videos and they were introduced by youthful looking VJs. VJs become even popular when discos and nightclubs become a passé and most entertainment hubs provided MTV-style dancing instead.

Wedding DJs

In the mid-80s, there was a dramatic change in the banquet and wedding business. The popularity of DJ music replaced the live bands that even the popular bandleaders during that time started shifting towards DJ rhythms. Their exposure to the crowd helped a lot in choosing crowd pleasing selection of music that became a hit during weddings.

You may confuse the job of a disc jockey to just being confined in a radio booth. Although the most common DJs work in a radio station with a headset, a microphone and an equipment to play music with, they also do other things. Disc jockeys do not merely talk non-stop or play music all day long. There are other duties of a disc jockey that does not involve playing music. You may write a script or edit one before reading it on air, you can write commercials, make the news layout, or even look for people who can be interviewed on air. In some instances, disc jockeys are even requested to make an appearance in schools for a talk, or in some parties to do live entertainment. The life of a disc jockey can also be exciting, and if you think you can be thrilled with the prospect of entertaining people, like me, you too can have a career in being a disc jockey. All you need is to work hard and love the job, and everything else will follow.