How do DJs do that?

1 06 2013

When I was a DJ years ago on community radio, I would often be asked by friends, How DJs managed to play a request only seconds after a listener requested it.

Now firstly we’re talking about the 1980s, there are no computers loaded with songs, at the time, computers were confined to the office and were not a part of the studio… if the station had one at all.

There might be a few cartridges beside you containing top 40 hits, but the rest is mainly vinyl, There may have been some CDs available to you

This is how it runs:

You have two tickets to give away for a Phil Collins concert, which will be given to the first caller through when “Easy Lover” is played.

You have a record playing, it’s just about to end, and you’re about to play “Easy Lover” which is all cued up on the next turntable (People are already phoning, but you’re ignoring all incoming calls).

You have your reel-to-reel tape recorder all ready to record, it’s probably a good Idea to hit record right now and see if it’s actually recording.

The song ends, you play “Easy Lover”

You quickly cue the next record.

You take the phonecall, and say…

“Hello, You’re the first person on the line, Who am I speaking to?”


“Hi Diane, Well done, You’ve won two tickets to see Phil Collins performing live at The Entertainment Centre here in Melbourne, on the 7th of September, how about that?”

“Wow, I’ve never won anything in my life, I’m excited, Thankyou!”

“You’ve very Welcome Diane, Now please don’t hang up, I’ll get back to you in a few minutes to get your details, but while you’re here, would you like to hear a song?”

“Yes please, How about “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and The News?”

“We can certainly do that for you Diane”

“Thanks Wolfie, Thanks AIR-FM”

At this point, you stop recording, you may have to start your third record and rewind what you’ve just recorded until just before you took the call, the tape should now be cued and ready to play.

You then run off to the record library and find “The power of love”, return to the studio and cue it up.

The record you’re playing comes to an end.

You hit the play button on the reel-to-reel, and it plays the call.

When you hear Diane say “Huey Lewis and The News” you begin playing the record.

When You hear her thank you and the station, you say…

“All the best Diane, Have a great time, It’s fourteen to four on AIR FM and Here’s Huey Lewis, The Power of Love…”

The Lyrics kick in.

And that’s how it’s done.




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