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National Disc Jockey Day

January 20

National Disc Jockey Day is observed annually on January 20th. #NationalDiscJockeyDay 

A disc jockey, or DJ for short, is a person who plays recorded music either on the radio or at a club or event. The history of radio disc jockeys covers the time when gramophone records were first transmitted by experimental radio broadcasters to present day radio personalities who host shows featuring a variety of recorded music.

DJ turntable

On Christmas Eve 1906, American Reginald A. Fessenden broadcast both live and recorded music from Brant Rock, Massachusetts. In 1907, American inventor Lee DeForest broadcast a recording of the William Tell Overture from his laboratory in the Parker Building in New York City, claiming “Of course, there weren’t many receivers in those days, but I was the first disc jockey” By 1910, radio broadcasters had started to use “live” orchestras as well as prerecorded sound. In the early radio age, content typically included comedy, drama, news, music, and sports reporting. Most radio stations had an orchestra or band on the payroll.

National Disc Jockey Day

For several decades beginning in the 1930s, the term “disc jockey” was exclusively used to describe on-air personalities who played selections of popular recorded music on radio broadcasting stations. In 1935, American radio commentator Walter Winchell coined the term “disc jockey”, as a description of radio announcer Martin Block, the first announcer to become a star.

Jimmy Savile is credited with hosting the first live DJ dance party in 1943. Savile is also credited as the first to present music in continuous play by using multiple turntables.

The postwar period coincided with the rise of the radio disc jockey as a celebrity separate from the radio station, also known as a “radio personality”. Today, contemporary DJs play music from vinyl to digital. Regardless of the medium they use, the term disc jockey still applies.


January 20
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