Radio DJ: How to Become a Radio DJ

Published Aug 05, 2009

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If you've ever dreamed of embodying the booming voice that introduces your favorite songs on the radio, this article is for you. Becoming a Radio DJ starts with gaining the necessary education and experience to advance in the broadcast industry. However, be warned that competition is keen; only 59,000 individuals were radio or TV broadcasters in 2006, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics,, and that number was expected to decrease by 8% through 2016.

Getting the Right Start as a Radio DJ

Starting in high school, take classes in subjects like speech and drama. Radio deejaying involves a certain performance aspect, and you'll need to be comfortable speaking in front of large groups, whether in person or via radio waves.

Though a college degree is not a requirement for most Radio DJ jobs, the right education can only help. Many 2- and 4-year institutions offer majors in radio and television broadcasting, communications or broadcast journalism. If you've already completed a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, consider taking continuing education classes in radio.

DJ Experience is Key

Gaining experience as a DJ can be as easy as working for a mobile disc jockey business or starting your own. You can get your first gigs in high school, playing the hottest tracks at school dances, private parties and weddings. You'll learn proper DJ etiquette and become familiar with the equipment involved.

If you attend a college with its own radio station, become a volunteer. You'll gain valuable experience, and you may be able to get behind the microphone. Most college stations allot time slots for student Radio DJs.

Breaking into the Radio DJ Business

Scoring an internship at a local radio station is another great way to learn the industry while getting your name out there. As in most professions, you can never do too much networking. While working at your local station, meet as many people as possible. Consider making a demo tape, and hand it out to whoever's willing to listen.

According to the BLS, large broadcast markets look for radio announcers with several years of on-air experience, so expect to start small. A community station is a good place to begin your career as a Radio DJ and then work your way up.

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