Career Spotlight: Radio DJ

DJ sitting at a desk

Do you dream of a career in which you can listen to great music all day long? Or perhaps you’d love to have your own talk show. A job as a radio DJ might be a great choice for you. Check out what it’s like to have a career as a radio DJ below:

Work Schedule

Radio DJs don’t generally have a regular 9 to 5 job. They might get into work very early or work late into the night. Radio DJs also work longer than the length of their shows. They might be on the air for a four-hour shift, but still have to put in more work behind the scenes. Radio DJs often work the weekends and on holidays. They may do special appearances at local events, during which they’ll represent their radio station.

Music Selection

One of the biggest misconceptions about being a radio DJ is that the hosts get to put together their own playlists. This does happen sometimes, but most often, the music director of the radio station will put together the playlist. Radio DJs often run “request hours,” during which members of the listening public can phone or email the station to request a specific song.

On-Air Discussions

The daily life of a radio DJ involves much more than just using expensive radio station equipment. When a song is playing, DJs occupy themselves by checking for breaking local, state or national news. They search for events and topics of interest to talk about to their audience. Radio DJs try to keep the public informed about things going on in the area. Some on-air personalities have large segments of time devoted to discussions. These might be political debates, musician interviews or sports commentary. Effective radio DJs are people who think well on their feet and who are very good communicators. “Dead air,” which is time during which no one is talking and no music is playing, must be avoided at all costs.

Audience Interactions

One of the truly rewarding parts of being a radio DJ is the ability to connect with the community. When DJs aren’t setting the equipment, finding news to talk about or talking about the news or weather, they are interacting with their listeners. Radio DJs may be responsible for checking the radio station’s social media pages at regular intervals. They respond to commenters, answer questions and connect listeners to community events. Radio DJs are also in a position to draw attention to worthy causes. A radio station might do a campaign to raise funds for a local homeless shelter, for example, or it might encourage people to sign up for a walk/run fundraiser to fight cancer.

To get a better sense of what it’s really like behind the scenes at a radio station, you can apply for an internship while you’re still in college. You can also approach local on-air personalities to ask if you can job-shadow them for a day. Remember to bring your questions!

Whatever your career aspirations are, Grand Canyon University has the perfect degree program for you! Our Bachelor of Arts in Communications program is well-suited to future radio DJs, public relations specialists, corporate trainers, and countless other rewarding careers. Use the Request More Information link to explore our College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.