A radio personality (American English) or radio presenter (British English), commonly referred to as a "disc jockey" or "DJ" for short, is a person who has an on-air position in radio broadcasting. A radio personality that hosts a radio show is also known as a radio host, and in India and Pakistan as a radio jockey. Radio personalities who introduce and play individual selections of recorded music are known as disc jockeys. The term has evolved to also describe a person who mixes a continuous flow of recorded music in real time. Broadcast radio personalities may include talk radio hosts, AM/FM radio show hosts, and satellite radio program hosts. Notable radio personalities include pop music radio hosts Martin Block, Alan Freed, Dick Clark, Delilah Luke, Ameen Sayani, Wolfman Jack, and Casey Kasem, shock jocks such as Don Imus and Howard Stern, as well as sports talk hosts such as Mike Francesa and political talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh.<ref name="CNN">Leopold, Todd. "The kings of the radio: All-time great DJs". CNN.com. CNN. Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2017.</ref>
A radio personality can be someone who introduces and discusses genres of music; hosts a talk radio show that may take calls from listeners; interviews celebrities or guests; or gives news, weather, sports, or traffic information. The radio personality may broadcast live or use voice-tracking techniques.<ref>L. A. Heberlein - The Rough Guide to Internet Radio 2002 - Page v. "In addition to putting songs together, a good radio host can tell you things you didn't know about the artists, the songs, and the times."</ref> Increasingly in the 2010s, radio personalities are expected to supplement their on-air work by posting information online, such as on a blog or on another web forum. This may be either to generate additional revenue or connect with listeners.<ref>Rooke, Barry; Odame, Helen Hambly (2013). ""I Have to Blog a Blog Too?" Radio Jocks and Online Blogging". Journal of Radio & Audio Media. 20 (1): 35. doi:10.1080/19376529.2013.777342.</ref> With the exception of small or rural radio stations, much of music radio broadcasting is done by broadcast automation, a computer-controlled playlist airing MP3 audio files which contain the entire program consisting of music, commercials, and a radio announcer's pre-recorded comments.
In the past, the term "disc jockey" (or "DJ") was exclusively used to describe on-air radio personalities who played recorded music and hosted radio shows that featured popular music. <ref name="Field2010">Shelly Field (21 April 2010). Career Opportunities in Radio. Infobase Publishing. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-1-4381-1084-4.</ref> Unlike the modern club DJ who uses beatmatching to mix transitions between songs to create continuous play, radio DJs played individual songs or music tracks while voicing announcements, introductions, comments, jokes, and commercials in between each song or short series of songs.<ref name="Higgins">Higgins, Terry. "Club Features New Breed of Disc Jockey". Milwaukee Sentinel. Milwaukee Sentinel, June 29, 1984. Retrieved 7 July 2016.</ref> During the 1950s, '60s and '70s, radio DJs exerted considerable influence on popular music, especially during the Top 40 radio era, because of their ability to introduce new music to the radio audience and promote or control which songs would be given airplay.<ref name="NYTBooks">Udovitch, Mim. "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey By BILL BREWSTER and FRANK BROUGHTON Grove Press". New York Times Book Review. New York Times Company. Retrieved 8 July 2016.</ref><ref name="Battaglio">Battaglio, Stephen. "Television/Radio; When AM Ruled Music, and WABC Was King". New York Times. New York Times Company. Retrieved 8 July 2016.</ref>
Types of radio personalities
- FM/AM radio – AM/FM personalities play music, talk, or both.<ref name="Career">"Radio and Television Job Description". CareerPlanner.com. Retrieved 28 February 2013.</ref> Some examples are Elvis Duran, Big Boy, Kidd Kraddick, John Boy and Billy, The Bob and Tom Show, and Rickey Smiley.
- Talk radio – Talk radio personalities often discuss social and political issues from a particular political point of view.<ref name="Career" /> Some examples are Rush Limbaugh, Art Bell, George Noory, Brian Kilmeade, Brian Lehrer, Don Geronimo and John Gibson.
- Sports talk radio – Sports talk radio personalities are often former athletes, sports writers, or television anchors and discuss sports news.<ref name="Career" /> Some examples are Dan Patrick, Tony Kornheiser, Dan Sileo, Colin Cowherd, and Mike Francesa.
- Satellite radio – Satellite radio personalities are not subject to government broadcast regulations and are allowed to play explicit music. Howard Stern, Opie and Anthony, Dr. Laura, and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo are some of the notable personalities who have successfully made the move from terrestrial radio to satellite radio.<ref name="Career" />
Salary in the US
Radio personality salaries are influenced by years of experience and education. In 2013, the median salary of a radio personality in the US was $28,400.
- 1–4 years: $15,200–39,400,
- 5–9 years: $20,600–41,700,
- 10–19 years: $23,200–51,200,
- 20 or more years: $26,300–73,000.
A radio personality with a bachelor's degree had a salary range of $19,600–60,400.<ref>"Disc Jockey (DJ), Radio Salary, Average Salaries". Payscale.com. Retrieved 22 March 2013.</ref>
The salary of a local radio personality will differ from a national radio personality. National personality pay can be in the millions because of the increased audience size and corporate sponsorship. For example, Rush Limbaugh was reportedly paid $40 million annually as part of the eight-year $400 million contract he signed with Clear Channel Communications.<ref>"Rush Limbaugh Net Worth". celebritynetworth.com. Retrieved 28 February 2013.</ref>
Due to radio personalities' vocal training, opportunities to expand their careers often exist. Over time a radio personality could be paid to do voice-overs for commercials, television shows, and movies.<ref>"Radio Jockey: Job Prospects & Career Options". webindia123.com. Retrieved 28 February 2013.</ref>
Universities offer classes in radio broadcasting and often have a college radio station, where students can obtain on-the-job training and course credit.<ref name="University">"ASU Dept. of Radio-TV". Arkansas State University. Retrieved 5 March 2013.</ref> Prospective radio personalities can also intern at radio stations for hands-on training from professionals. Training courses are also available online.<ref name="University"/>
Many radio personalities do not have a post-high school education, but some do hold degrees in audio engineering.<ref name="educationrequirements.org">"Radio Jockey Education and Job requirements". educationrequirements.org. Retrieved 12 March 2013.</ref> Radio personalities typically have a bachelor's degree level qualification in radio-television-film, mass communications, journalism, or English.<ref>"Announcers". bls.gov. 8 January 2014.</ref>
A radio personality position generally has the following requirements:<ref>"Radio Jockey education and job requirements". educationrequirements.org. Retrieved 12 March 2013.</ref><ref>"RJs Talk About Their Careers in Radio". YouCareer.in. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2015.</ref>
- Good clear voice with excellent tone and modulation
- Great communication skills and creativity to interact with listeners
- Knowledgeable on current affairs, news issues and social trends
- Creative thinking, to be able to think of new ideas or topics for show
- Able to improvise and think "on the spot"
- Ability to develop their own personal style
- A good sense of humor