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Disc Jockey Job Description, Career as a Disc Jockey, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: No specific educational requirements

Median Salary: $30,000 annually

Job Prospects: Good

Job Description

A disc jockey plays music for a wide variety of audiences and purposes. A disc jockey works at a radio station, a nightclub, on an independent basis, or through any variety of environments. They maintain a fundamental understanding and appreciation of music, which plays into their ability to do well within their job.

Disc jockeys often work at radio stations, playing music and announcing it to listeners. They can work as part of a team and be involved in a talk show during rush hour for example, which seems to be a popular trend in the occupation. Those involved in this role play an integral part of the radio station they work for, and may even become a bit of a local celebrity.

Some disc jockeys work as part of a larger group or on an individual basis. If working in this capacity, they work to support special events such as weddings, anniversaries, corporate events, bar mitzvahs, and other events that require musical entertainment. Disc jockeys must have a good personality, be able to deal with the general public, and be able to handle song requests.

Disc jockeys who work at a radio station must be knowledgeable and involved with all areas of broadcasting. They need to have experience and knowledge in all of the aspects of broadcasting, and are often responsible for keeping a log of what happens during their on-air segment. If working on an independent basis, a disc jockey must be capable of running their own business including marketing and financial management. Ensuring clients are happy is an integral part of this role, particularly if working independently.

Training/Educational Requirements

There is no set educational requirement for a disc jockey. Most that serve in this role often have a high school diploma or a college degree. The experience gained in working at a college radio station is valuable, and is often how many disc jockeys get their first job.

Keeping up with musical genres, new trends in music, and broadcasting methods is an important part of the job. There isn’t any course required for this profession, but having a background in broadcasting can certainly help to prepare disc jockeys for their occupation. This is a position that focuses on the experience rather than the educational requirement.

How to Get Hired

The best way to get hired as a disc jockey is to gain experience. Working at a college radio station is an excellent way to get a foot in the door. When looking to progress within this career path, experience gained at a competing radio station is an excellent way to get hired into a desired position. Disc jockeys can expect to switch markets or radio stations on a fairly regular basis, since this is an industry with high turnover and frequent changes in management.

The more experience a disc jockey gains, the better their chances will be in getting hired into a position. This holds especially true for those disc jockeys who work independently or as part of a larger organization that services private events. Clients like to hear and see disc jockeys at work, so they want to ensure the individual they hire will do a good job at their event. Having a demo tape to show to prospective clients demonstrates capabilities which is an excellent way to bring in new business.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Since there is usually a wide offering of radio stations within each city, there is always a need for disc jockeys. Although competition can be high for this position, turnover is equally as high allowing for job openings on a regular basis. Adding to the job prospects is the possibility for disc jockeys to work on an independent basis or as part of a larger organization. Servicing private events opens up many job opportunities for disc jockeys.

Working Environment

Disk jockeys who work at a radio station usually have a typical environment of a studio. They work alone in their studio during their on-air time, or they work as part of a team if they are in an on-air talk show. They usually have a small office to handle research, but they spend most of their time in the studio.

Disc jockeys that service private events may travel to various venues to provide musical entertainment for their clients. They can expect to work at banquet halls, hotels, or other venues that private events can be held.

Salary and Benefits

The salary range varies widely for a disc jockey depending on the number of years of experience, as well as their work environment. If they work on an independent basis servicing weddings and other affairs, they can charge an hourly or flat fee. Fees can vary depending on the geographical location and the nature of the event based on a price list for clients offered by the disc jockey.

If working at a radio station or related facility, the pay scale varies based on the years of experience and their working capacity. If they simply announce and play songs, they can expect to earn a bit less. If they work as part of a talk show as a disc jockey and become a local celebrity, they can expect to earn more. Typically disc jockeys earn about $30,000 a year, however, the range can vary from as little as $16,500 to as much as $56,534.

The benefits are totally dependent on the environment and the employer. Disc jockeys who work on an independent basis are responsible for their own benefits. Those working at a radio station or as part of a bigger company usually receive medical coverage.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts