National Disc Jockey Day

National Disc Jockey Day is a holiday that celebrates DJs for spinning our favorite music from behind their decks. Disc jockeys are underappreciated, but the music they serve up is vital for not only clubs and bars but also weddings and any other social event that can be improved with a deep cut of music. This holiday dedicated to disc jockeys is observed on January 20th because this is when the most famous American disc jockey, Albert James “Alan” Freed, died in 1965. The day has been celebrated by DJs ever since to honor his contributions to the field.

The History Of DJing

The term disc jockey was coined in 1935 when Walter Winchell, an American radio commentator, used the phrase to describe radio announcer Martin Block. Martin Block became popular for playing popular music on the radio, although he wasn’t the first one to do it. The first person to actually play popular music on the radio was a 16-year-old named Ray Newby, who did it in 1909. Newby played records on a small spark transmitter under the authority of radio pioneer Charles Herrold.

Although Ray Newby could be considered the first DJ, the first DJ party wasn’t held until 1943. This is when DJ Jimmy Savile started the world’s first DJ dance party in the upstairs function room of the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds in Otley, England. The records he chose to play were a selection of jazz records. The following year, he claimed to be the first DJ to use twin turntables to play music continuously.

The first DJ to frequently play and promote rock and roll was Alan Freed. He is well known for bridging the gap of segregation between American teenagers by presenting music from black artists on his radio program and arranging live concerts that had racially mixed audiences. In 1986, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Facts About Disc Jockeys

Below we have gathered some facts about disc jockeys that we think are apropos to the discussion of National Disc Jockey Day. We hope that you enjoy them. If you do, don’t forget to share them with friends and family on this holiday.

  • Disc Jockeys used to hide their record labels so their listeners wouldn’t know what was being played next.
  • In the 1970s, DJ Soundclashes (or competitions) became popular for a while.
  • Depending on experience, a disc jockey can make as little as $10 to thousands of dollars for a set.
  • Walter Winchell coined the term disc jockey in 1935.

Observing National Disc Jockey Day

National Disc Jockey Day can be observed by taking some time to learn about some of the early DJs, by listening to some popular music, or by using the hashtag #NationalDiscJockeyDay on your social media accounts.

When is it?
This year (2024)
January 20 Saturday
Next year (2025)
January 20 Monday
Last year (2023)
January 20 Friday
Art & Entertainment