National Disc Jockey Day (National DJ Day) Date in the current year: January 20, 2024

National Disc Jockey Day (National DJ Day) National Disc Jockey Day, also known as National DJ Day, is observed annually on January 20. It celebrates all DJs across the nation and pays tribute to Alan “Moondog” Freed, an influential American disc jockey of the 1950s.

A disc jockey, commonly abbreviated as DJ these days, is a person who plays recorded music for an audience in various settings: on the radio, at nightclubs and music festivals, at private and public events such as weddings and parties, etc.

The term “disc jockey” was coined by American radio news commentator Walter Winchell to describe Martin Block, a radio announcer who pioneered playing popular recorded music during broadcasts. Originally used to refer to radio personalities, the term eventually expanded to include performers who played recorded music at discothèques. The first DJ mixers and direct-drive turntables were produced in the 1960s, which can be considered the beginning of modern DJing.

The word “disc” in “disc jockey” originally referred to disc-shaped shellac and vinyl records that early DJs worked with. Modern DJs can work with various media, including vinyl records, cassette tapes, CDs, or digital audio recordings, using various equipment to play and mix music, add sound effects, etc.

There are different types of DJs depending on the setting they work in, music genres they prefer, and techniques they employ: club DJs playing at nightclubs and various musical events, hip hop DJs collaborating with hip hop artists, radio DJs, reggae/dancehall deejays, turntablists, resident DJs that perform at a particular venue or event under a contract, etc.

The founder of National Disc Jockey Day is unknown, but at least we know why the holiday is celebrated on January 20. This day is the death anniversary of Alan Freed, an American disc jockey who is credited with popularizing the term rock and roll on mainstream radio and helping to break down racial barriers by promoting African-American music.

Freed became interested in radio while attending Ohio State University and worked as a disc jockey on Armed Forces Radio while serving in the army during World War II. After the war, he worked at a number of small radio stations in Ohio before moving to New York.

Freed is best remembered for his Moondog Show where he promoted rock and roll and rhythm and blues records throughout the 1950s. Unfortunately, Freed’s career was destroyed by legal trouble and excessive drinking in the early 1960s; he died from health effects of alcoholism on January 20, 1965 at the age of 43.

To honor Freed’s contribution to popularizing the genre and breaking down racial barriers in the music industry, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991.

There are many ways to celebrate National DJ Day. You can learn more about the history of DJing and famous DJs, give your favorite DJs a shout out on social media using the hashtags #NationalDJDay and #NationalDiscJockeyDay, listen to your favorite radio show, go out to a club with your friends, and even try mixing some tracks yourself.

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National Disc Jockey Day, National DJ Day, professional days, unofficial holidays, Alan Freed