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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Disc Jockey

Christopher Stone (1992-1865), brother in law of the author Compton Mackenzie, became Britain’s first disc jockey, when he presented Record Round-up on the BBC in 1927.

At first Stone's only payment was being allowed to mention The Gramophone on air, which he edited. He was later paid three guineas.

Stone objected to the term “disc jockey”, but was devoted so records, he made his will on one.

Martin Block (1903-67)  first worked in radio in Tijuana, Mexico  in 1931. He  was hired three years later by WNEW in New York City  and was standing by to announce the latest news about the Hauptmann trial, when he played music to divert listeners, explaining it came from "the Make Believe Ballroom."

Martin Block's style of announcing was considerably different than the usual manner of delivery at the time. Instead of speaking in a voice loud enough to be heard in a theater, he spoke in a normal voice, as if he was having a one-on-one conversation with a listener.

With his mellifluous voice, Block was a master salesman for sponsors and record companies who vied for him to introduce their products and records.

Walter Winchell is said to have invented the term "disk jockey" as a means of describing Block's radio work,

U.S. disc jockey Alan Freed was the first mainstream radio presenter to play rock ’n’ roll on his shows in the early Fifties. On December 8, 1962, Freed appeared at his payola trial in New York City and testified to receiving money from labels to play their records on the air. He was found guilty, fined $300, and given six months probation, but his career was irreparably damaged.

Trading card photo of Alan Freed in 1957
DJ Carl Cox played the Millennium (1999 to 2000) on New Year's Eve twice, by performing in Sydney, Australia and again in Hawaii after flying back over the International Date Line.

Aged just 6 years and 114 days, Japanese boy Itsuki Morita became the world’s youngest club DJ on May 19, 2017. Itsuki did an hour-long set at restaurant & bar L in Osaka, playing a number of tracks using professional Pioneer XDJ AERO decks in front of a big crowd comprising both adults and children.

Itsuki Morita's record was taken a few months later by South Africa’s Oratilwe AJ Hlongwane – a.k.a. DJ Arch Jnr. At the incredibly young age of five years and 38 days, the former South Africa’s Got Talent winner played on professional DJ decks at a Platinum Lounge Bar in Cosmo City, Johannesburg, South Africa, to an audience of 100 people.

Dallas DJ Ron Chapman told listeners to his show that if they sent him $20 he would send them nothing by return. A week later he had received over $240,000.

The act of a radio DJ talking over a song's instrumental intro and stopping just before the lyrics begin is called "hitting the post."

Sources: Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999.

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