Job Description of a Radio DJ

Written by lysa d'angelyse
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Job Description of a Radio DJ
A job as a radio DJ can be entertaining for you and the listener. (headphones image by Roxy from

The voice on the radio telling you about an upcoming song or concert belongs to a radio DJ. With a variety of stations and genres, seeking a career as a radio DJ can happen if you have the talent, persistence and skill like the professionals do.


The radio DJ or personality introduces new music and informs you of the song that just finished playing. They entertain on the airwaves abiding, by the station's playlist, while informing listeners of upcoming station events, news and even celebrity gossip. Part of the radio DJ's job description on-the-air includes guest appearances or "remotes." They also represent the station by hosting club and concert events.


Typical employee benefits for the full-time DJ include medical and dental insurance, a 401k savings plan and possibly stock options, depending on the company or corporation he works for. Free concert tickets and VIP tables at the club are a few of the perks the radio DJ receives. But radio personalities have to take caution in receiving freebies from clients or anyone in general. The radio industry and Federal Communications Commission frown upon this practice, which could fall under the category of either "payola" or "plugola." Payola happens when a someone such as a record promoter or business owner gives you something for free and asks for nothing in return except for you to play their records or promote their business on the radio. Plugola happens when the radio personality promotes an activity or promotional event not given permission by the station or properly advertised. The FCC discourages this practice and the penalties include huge fines for either infringement.


Formal training isn't required to become a radio DJ, but it helps give the skills necessary to prepare you for being on the radio. A qualified radio DJ has a good voice and delivery plus engaging content and personality . Internships at a radio station help get your foot in the door but don't always guarantee a shot on the radio.


To become a radio DJ in a Top 20 market may be your goal, but the industry is very competitive. These markets include cities like Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Someone with no experience or skill may find it difficult to get a full time position on any station in this market, unless you have connections or have had experience in these markets. Smaller markets consider new talent and will help fine-tune your skills. Persistence without annoyance and a good demo (air check) can also help you get noticed.


As of 2010, the salary for a radio DJ averages £13,000 and up, according to leading website. Many factors are considered with a radio DJ's salary, including the market of the station, ratings and the time slot of the DJ. Additional compensation includes talent fees, sponsorships or even commercials. Morning show DJs usually have the highest salary and afternoon or evening personalities are secondary in the salary and time slot ranks.

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