Everybody interviews musicians and bands, but daily, I have become increasingly more fascinated with the men and women behind the music. No, I am not talking about producers, agents, managers, engineers or groupies, I am talking about the almost dying art of DJs.
In todays musical landscape, FM Radio has become a scrappy, make ends-meat business model, but there are still real people who love music and get a thrill out of sharing the music they love with others. Hell, in Memphis along with other markets, there are volunteer stations with DJs who donate their time to share the music they love with others. That says something. It says there is something more to being a DJ than queuing up the pre-determined songs and collecting a check. Humans still want to connect through a shared music experience.
This whole thought really sparked standing in my kitchen making coffee for the next day and listening to Tom Kent on 94.1 WKQK’s request show. After every caller, I kept saying to my husband, “people really still call in to radio shows…why? I mean, they can get on their device of choice and listen to the song they want for free or if they have the $0.99, they might pay for it…so why call?”
I have lots of questions for DJs and callers alike. Am I the only one that thinks about this when I turn on the radio? After all, I count myself in the same ilk as a DJ in some regards. I get off on the thought that you, the unseen public, might hear something you might just fall in love with that you may not have ever heard otherwise. Or maybe, you reconnect with a song at a particular time in your life and it gives you whatever it is that you needed in that moment.
In my life I have always noticed and participated in a reverence of DJs. Growing up In Mobile AL, Catt on 92.1 WZEW was (and as far as I know still is) a musical institution. I was in attendance at the first Memphis Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony where Dewey Phillips was so rightfully inducted. Anything that Robin Hilton plays on All Songs Considered on NPR, I give a first, second and third listen too. There is truly something indescribable about connecting with people through music, on the radio, online or in your living room.