Just some thoughts:
They were celebrities in the 1950s’.
Every radio market of any size in America had one, a disc jockey.
A DJ is a person who sat in a radio station studio and played records. Often it was music that appealed to the teenagers. These record spinners became local favorites of the young people. In my home area we had one who went by the initials of J. A., his name was Jim Austin. During my four years in high school I can remember the stunts he did. One year he sat high atop a pole at the local county fair and never came down the entire week. Another time he sat in the display window of Roots department store on main street (Wabash Avenue) to set a stay- awake record. We kids would drive by the window, stop to look at him and encourage him not to “go to sleep.” Another time he supposedly locked himself in the control room of the station (WBOW) and continued to play the same record for over six hours. He pulled this feat on a Friday night as we drove up and down the main drag of our town. Each time he would announce a record, but each time he played the same song which happened to be, “The Purple People Eater.” You can imagine the buzz on the strip that night. The word was that the police were going to have to break into the station to get him to stop. He did local high school sock hop dances, grand openings of various shops and businesses. He was definitely a local with a name and a following. Little did we kids realize the stories behind these record jockey personalities, as often they made their way from station to station and sometimes leaving town under not the best of circumstances. Harry Chapin once wrote and sang about such.
Hello honey, it’s me/ What did you think when you heard me back on the radio?
What did the kids say when they knew it was their long last daddy-o?
Remember how we listened to the radio/ And I said “That’s the place to be”
And how I got the job as an FM jock/ The day you married me?
We were two kids and I was into AM rock/ But I just had to run around
It’s been eight years since I left you babe/ Let me tell you ‘bout what’s gone down
I am the mornin’ DJ on W.O.L.D/ Playin’ all the hits for you wherever you may be
The bright good-mornin’ voice who’s heard but never seen
Feelin’ all of forty-five goin’ on fifteen
So I drifted down to Tulsa, Oklahoma/ To do me a late night talk show
Now I worked my way down home again, via Boise, Idaho/ That’s how this business goes
I been making extra money to a high school hops/ I’m a big time MC
You should hear me talking to the little children/ And listen what they say to me
Sometimes I get this crazy dream/ That I just take off in my car
When you can travel on ten thousand miles/ And still stay where you are
I’ve been thinking that I should stop disk jockeying/ And start that record store
Maybe I could settle down/ If you’d take me back once more
OK honey, I see/ I guess he’s better than me
Sure old girl, I understand/ You don’t have to worry I’m such a happy man
Years later a lot of us who had listened to these jocks play music…well, we also might be feelin’ forty-five, yet remembering when we were in out teen's
May 2, 2014