Radio disc jockeys, also known as DJs, are professionals in the radio industry who broadcast recorded music to a particular audience. People who are interested in radio broadcasting and music and have pleasant voices and strong communication skills are well-suited for the positions. DJs must also be quick on their feet and interact successfully with guests or listeners that call in.
Radio disc jockeys may broadcast many types of recorded music for radio stations. A station’s management often sets up a schedule determining what type of music is played at what time. DJs also comment on traffic, sports, news, weather and give their personal opinions. Disc jockeys may manage contests, interview guests and respond to music requests of listeners. They must be familiar with types of equipment like microphones, headphones, computer software, sound systems and audio mixers. DJs may use different music mediums like vinyl records, computers, digital media devices and compact discs.
The basic requirement of a disc jockey is typically a high school diploma and previous radio experience. Some disc jockeys receive formal training at technical or vocational schools or local community colleges. They may also complete a college degree to receive additional training. Cours work may include public speaking, radio broadcasting, broadcast journalism and communications. During school, prospective DJs can take internships working for local stations. Often, disc jockey hopefuls will take any open position at a radio station with hopes of moving up to the DJ position.
According to a survey conducted with 265 disc jockeys by PayScale, salary ranged from $23,596 to $40,539 as of December 2010. In general, the middle 50 percent of radio and television announcers made between $18,824 and $42,245 in December 2008, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bottom 10 percent of these announcers made below $15,496 and the top 10 percent made over $75,754. These salaries vary depending on years of experience and location.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of radio and television announcer positions is projected to decrease by 6 percent between 2008 and 2018. This is a result of multiple factors including consolidation of broadcasting companies and the improvement of technology in the industry. Those interested in the field may have to take low-paying or volunteer positions to work their way up to higher-paying DJ positions.