Have you ever wondered as you were driving down the road listening to the radio, "How do they do that?" I certainly have, and so for my junior job shadow experience I chose to shadow Mike Shannon from 99.7 WDJX, a very popular radio personality in Louisville, Kentucky. I chose to shadow him because I was interested in how DJs do their job and how a radio station is run. I thought that the job would be fun, exciting, and I thought it would be interesting. Going in to the Radio station I already knew that it was probably a high stress job and that on occasion it was very exciting. Some of the questions I had going into the situation were, what kind of history is behind the radio and radio personalities and what kind of education do you need to have to succeed in the field, what does the job entail, what personality traits are crucial for the job, what kind of atmosphere is in a radio station, what ranges of salary are given and what kind of benefits are given? During the research of my topic I found it very hard to find lots of sources about Disk Jockeys. It's hard not to type in Disk Jockey in to Google and not get tons of DJs selling themselves. However, I did find some very good books at my school library, good internet sources, and a lot of information from Mike him self. I didn't want to just write about music and radio as it is today I wanted to find some things about the history of radio and DJ's.
I found out that an Italian engineer, Guglielmo Marconi, first transmitted a radio signal from his home in the year 1895. Marconi died in 1937. Alan Freed was the first contemporary Disk Jockeys in the 1950's. He worked in New York at WINS radio. In 1957 huge crowds would come to his rock and roll stage shows at Paramount Theater. I also found out how Disk Jockey got their name. People working at radio stations where later called Disk Jockeys' because music was played on records and disks. Now music is either played digitally or from compact disks. And then another question I wanted answered was what kind of education do you need?
I then researched the educational aspect of being a DJ. One source stated that it's helps to know good English, like correct pronunciation and diction. They recommended taking speech classes in high school and college. It went on to say that being a part of the debate team and theater help with projection and pronunciation. Some high schools have their own radio stations. This is very good experience for someone looking to be a DJ. Some colleges offer courses in radio and run their own stations. Some radio stations offer tuition help and training. It may help to get an internship or Co-op opportunity. Radio stations also provide scholarships to students. Some larger radio stations require you to be in a union such as the AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.). Another question I had about the job was, what does this job entail?
Disk Jockeys play music during birthday parties, Bar Mitzvahs, and other special occasions. On the radio they announce sport scores, weather, traffic, and they run or read commercials that companies send in after they have bough air time. They also have special guests every once in a while. There are only about 50,000 DJs working today. Most of the time DJs work alone, but even though they may be lonely, they must sound happy and jovial on-air. DJs don't always get to choose what they play on-air. Most of the time at big stations, they have program directors who choose the music to be played that day. Then you have the other DJs that don't work with a written script. The only thing that is written out is the commercials or special announcements that the station wants announced. Most DJs don't play the music all the way through they fade it out. Time is very important because certain commercials and a certain amount of music must be played as well as announcing the weather and traffic regularly. DJs that travel to parties and...
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