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Disc Jockey (DJ): Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Disc jockeys, also known as DJs, broadcast music over radio stations. They also must ensure that commercials, interviews and commentary are delivered on time, per a schedule set by management. This career typically requires a strong personality and a clear voice.

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Disc Jockey Job Description

Disc jockeys often work for radio stations in soundproof studios. They might specialize in a certain type of music, such as classic rock, pop or contemporary R&B. Experienced disc jockeys sometimes get to choose which time slot they want to work, but most of those just starting out in the field have to take night or early morning shifts.

Others working in the disc jockey profession are self-employed and use their own equipment to provide entertainment at nightclubs or restaurants. They also might supply music and sound system services at special events, such as weddings and corporate banquets.

Job Duties of a Disc Jockey

With the use of technology today, most radio broadcasts are timed and automated. Thus, a disc jockey mainly ensures that his or her program is running smoothly, while occasionally speaking live to the audience. This might include holding radio contests, taking song requests, questioning callers and performing interviews.

Disc jockeys sometimes appear at live events, such as concerts or radio station-sponsored parties. They also tend to take part in a variety of other promotional events, which can be held in locations as varied as shopping malls, parks or parking lots. Additionally, disc jockeys may be required to make updates to their radio stations' websites.

DJ Job Requirements

An associate's or bachelor's degree program in radio broadcasting can familiarize aspiring disc jockeys with software and equipment used in this field, and classes in business and marketing can teach them to target certain demographics and draw in new listeners. Additionally, many employers look for job candidates with substantial experience. Prospective DJs can gain entry-level experience through jobs at college, university or small-market radio stations or internships at larger stations.

Beyond training and experience requirements, a disc jockey must have excellent communication skills and be able to maintain a pleasant and controlled voice with good pronunciation and word timing. A DJ also needs to stay current on news and entertainment events.

DJ Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that announcing positions (which included disk jockeys) were expected to grow 7% from 2010-2020, which was less than average. Job candidates with a degree in journalism, communications or broadcasting should have the best opportunities. Radio and television announcers made a mean salary of $41,860 per year in May 2012.

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