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Job Photographs

  • A woman is sitting at a large mixing desk, in a radio studio.  She is looking at a sheet of paper.

    Some of what the DJ says is scripted before the show.

  • A woman is sitting in front of a large studio microphone.  She has a pair of headphones around her neck.

    DJs must have clear speech and have confidence using a microphone.

  • A woman is sitting at a control desk.  She has a pair of headphones around her neck.  A man is standing next to her, and they are both looking at a sheet of paper.

    The DJ who is on-air next comes in for a chat.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, in a radio studio.  She is speaking into a large microphone.

    This DJ works for a local radio station.

  • A woman is using a computer keyboard, which is attached to a mixing desk.  She is wearing headphones.

    This keyboard operates the music.

  • A woman is standing, holding headphones to one ear.  She is looking at a laptop computer.  Next to her is a speaker on a stand.

    Mobile DJs take their equipment to different locations.

  • A man stands, operating a keyboard in a dark nightclub.

    A nightclub DJ, mixing music and adding live sound effects.

  • A nightclub DJ, surrounded by dancers, is playing music on a keyboard.

    Some DJs work live music into their performances.

  • Beauty Therapist

Disc Jockey

Introduction

As a Disc Jockey (DJs), you will present and play music to different audiences. You'll work in local or national radio stations, pubs and clubs, and mobile discos.

Also known as

  • DJ
  • Radio DJ
  • Radio Host

Video: - Trevor: DJ and Broadcaster

Video: - DJ Tutir-Rolling Sound: DJ

Work Activities

Disc Jockeys (DJs) are Performers who present and play music to a particular audience. You can work in a number of areas, including local or national radio stations, pubs and clubs, and mobile discos. The nature of the work varies according to where you work.

Radio

As a DJ working in radio (often known as 'Presenters') you will introduce and play music and create a programme around the music. This can involve things like interviewing guests, hosting 'phone-ins', presenting quiz shows, playing jingles and talking to listeners between tracks.

You may also introduce news bulletins, give out travel news and weather information and broadcast adverts.

You will follow a 'running order' that gives the times and sequence for items. Most DJs help to decide the running order with the Producer. You'll also help to choose music and contribute ideas for features.

Mobile discos

If you choose to run a mobile disco you will have to buy equipment before you can begin working. Equipment includes items such as an amplifier, speakers and lights.

Before a gig, you'll unload and set up your equipment. Then you will dismantle it and pack it away at the end of the gig. You'll also need to maintain your equipment, find faults and carry out repairs, especially if the system develops a fault during a gig.

As a Mobile DJ, you are responsible for all aspects of your work, including book-keeping.

Clubs

Club DJs are skilled in selecting and playing music to suit different audiences. If people don't like the music, you will have to think quickly; you have to 'read the audience' and choose music that keeps clubbers on the dance floor.

You will learn how to mix music between one track and the next, so there are no gaps in the music or to create new sounds. You might take music requests from the dancers.

You must also organise publicity for yourself or the pub/club you are working for.

For many DJs, travel throughout the local area is usual. You might work nationally and/or internationally. DJs working at a holiday destination often spend the whole summer season (April - October) based at one place.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a DJ, you need to be:

  • able to communicate easily with people
  • outgoing and confident
  • interested in music
  • well organised
  • able to operate technical equipment
  • able to think and react quickly, if equipment breaks down, for example

To be a Radio DJ, it's essential that you have clear speech.

Many Mobile DJs are capable of maintaining and fixing their own equipment.

Self-employed DJs need to have business skills, so they can sell their services, control budgets, buy equipment and keep financial records.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

Pay rates for Disc Jockeys (DJs) vary depending on whether you are employed or self-employed, and your level of popularity.

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £14,000 - £20,000
  • With experience: £30,000 - £50,000

Established DJs in night clubs are likely to be paid between £100 and £200 per hour, and more if they become successful.

Hours of work

DJs work different hours, depending on the nature of their work; this can include regular hours, in the daytime, evening or through the night. Weekend and public holiday working is common.

Where could I work?

DJs work in clubs, pubs, hotels and holiday camps throughout the UK, and on ferries and cruise ships.

In broadcasting, employers include BBC local, regional, national and World Service radio.

There are also opportunities to work in commercial radio with independent local and national stations.

Opportunities occur for DJs to work in other countries, especially in tourist resorts.

Self-employment

Many DJs are self-employed. They find work themselves, or often via an agent.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies and opportunities are advertised:

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You can gain the skills and experience required to become a local radio DJ by working in hospital, in-store, college and community radio, or in disco or club work.

One way of getting into radio or club/pub work is to put together a demo and send it to Programme Controllers or Club/Pub Owners. You could be offered an audition to find out whether you and your music are suitable for the venue.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Training

Full-time and part-time courses in radio are available at all levels, including City & Guilds, HNDs, degrees, foundation degrees and postgraduate qualifications. A number of short courses in radio studio skills are also available.

If you would like some more training, then the DJ Academy offer an 8-week part time course. This course will allow you to learn all the skills you need to be successful in the industry. By the end of the course, you will have learnt about:

  • the hardware and equipment needed
  • the technical sound system setup and music formats
  • mixing techniques
  • music programming and set building
  • recording your DJ mixes
  • how to promote yourself

The DJ Academy also offer lots of other options that you can take part in. This course is also offered across the country, so check the website for more details.

Other courses could be available in your area.

Radio stations may offer their own training programmes. Training is usually on-the-job and depends on the programme requirements and your previous experience.

Progression

With experience of local radio, it may be possible to move into national radio and television work.

Club/Pub DJs can progress towards larger venues and aim to become a 'name' DJ.

Experienced mobile DJs with business skills can employ other DJs and offer a wider entertainment package to clients.

Work Experience

A background in the entertainment and/or music industry can be very useful. Voluntary or holiday work in local community, student or hospital radio stations is relevant. Scriptwriting experience for local radio programmes is also seen as valuable.

Qualifications

There are no minimum educational qualifications required to become a DJ. Your personality and technical skills are more important.

Relevant work experience is important because it teaches you the necessary skills and demonstrates enthusiasm and commitment.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Experience

A background in the entertainment and/or music industry can be very useful. Voluntary or holiday work in local community, student or hospital radio stations is relevant. Scriptwriting experience for local radio programmes is also seen as valuable.

Further Information

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills

Email: info@creative-choices.co.uk

Website: www.creative-choices.co.uk

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

BBC Careers

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/careers/home

RadioCentre

Tel: 020 7010 0600

Email: info@radiocentre.org

Website: www.radiocentre.org

Wireless Group

Irish enquiries

Email: info@u.tv

Website: www.utvmedia.com

Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA)

Website: www.hbauk.co.uk

ITV Jobs

Website: www.itvjobs.com

DJ Academy

Tel: 07980 915424

Email: andyking221@btinternet.com

Website: www.djacademy.org.uk

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