The American Disc Jockey
The American Disc Jockey is one of the most important aspects in the development of music, especially rock-n-roll. Many radio personalities became widely recognized on the notion of them having a specialized voice or that they are able to provide a wealth of knowledge about the artists that they play (Eliot, 92). Whatever the situation, the fact remains that disk jockeys have helped to build an excitement for radio, yesterday, today, and hopefully tomorrow.
A day in the life of a disk jockey is not just about spinning records and announcing the latest contest. What really makes a good disk jockey is craftsmanship (Sklar, 13). The DJ has to maneuver tangible and intangible objects, as well as cue up records, spots, public service announcements, and plugs from other DJ’s. This is not an easy task. Most importantly, a DJ has to influence people’s minds. Most of this influencing is done between songs; the way he or she blends the music, and the way he or she creates the entire show (Sklar, 14). Whether it be a humorous sketch to a documentary or perhaps a jingle.
A DJ must really be aware of his or her surroundings, and learn to use all of the tools given to him (Hall, 65). For example, bits of information about the records or artists taken from publications, back of album jackets, or publicity handouts from record companies (Hall, 66). These crutches provide valuable insight for the audience and give them a feeling that a confident and educated person is on the other side of the airwaves.
KTLK disk jockey Jack Armstrong believes, “All in all, entertainment is the very key for any successful disk jockey, no matter what format or music he is working. For that matter, entertainment is the lifeblood of any radio station for, obviously, people turn on the radio most of the time to be entertained. In my opinion, entertainment in rock radio centers around the word music. I feel that any Top 40 disk jockey who is or wants to be successful should keep an eye on his priorities. As far as I’m concerned, music is first; but I feel just as strongly that the jock is second. A very strong second (Hall, 122)” This illustrates the point of the DJ personality being the main focus of the listener’s attentions.
As movers and shakers of early rock and roll, disk jockeys choose which records they played, and how many times they played them. The law states that it is a federal crime for any radio or television station to accept or agree to accept money, services, or anything of value for broadcasting any material without disclosing acceptance or agreement to accept (Smith, 54). Over the years, various payola scandals actually helped many artists recording careers; at the same time helped to end the careers of many disk jockeys. Unfortunately, in radio, the guilt of a few reflects on the mass.
Throughout the years, even in spite of many Grand Jury investigations, payola has not been...