Wednesday, 22 June 2011

So, you need to book a DJ

Now you're having a function and looking for a Disco and a DJ for your entertainment. It's not something you do on a regular basis and you're not sure what you should be looking for, after all, discos are all the same aren't they?

Choosing a DJ for your function is one of the most important decisions you can make to ensure the success of the event. Everything else can be perfect, but if the music isn’t good, the party will fizzle. Selecting the right Disco for your party can be confusing. There are over 15,000 DJs in the U.K. all promising they’ll do a great job for you. So how do you pick the right one for you? Hopefully, I’ll be able to provide you with some guidance to help you make the decision easier.

The best and easiest way is to find a DJ you’ll like is to hire one you’ve already seen. If you’ve been at a wedding or party where the DJ was great, find out who he or she was. If you didn’t get their card, ask the host or the manager of the function room where the party was held.

If you haven’t seen a good DJ recently, ask your friends. Your friends probably have the same taste in music as you. Maybe they’ve been to a function you missed. Let them know ahead of time you’ll be looking, and ask them to keep their eyes and ears open.

If the first two suggestions don’t work, your job gets tougher. You might have to go to the Yellow Pages. Look under Disc Jockeys, Mobile Discos, Music and Entertainment. Circle the ads in which the DJ mention the type of party you’re planning. For example, if you’re planning a wedding, a DJ whose ad says ‘We specialise in Weddings’ would be a good one to call. You’ll probably find several DJs whose ads look good. Alternatively, you can search the internet. There are many good directories to check such as the Wedding DJ Association which will even help you find DJs and Discos in your area.

How do you tell which one is best? Probably the worst way to choose a DJ is on price alone. Some DJs are more expensive than others. Prices can range from £120 to £800+ for a 4 hour event. That’s quite a difference, and it would be very tempting to choose the cheapest alternative. If that’s all you can afford, then you have no choice. But, consider the law of supply and demand. There is a reason that some DJs charge more than others. They are usually worth it. More expensive DJs tend to be the more experienced DJs. They can charge more because they have a lot of jobs, and they have a good reputation. Generally, the DJs on the low end of the price scale are new to the business, and trying to get established. They could do a good job, and might be worth a shot if your party is on the informal side. But there is probably more at risk with a less experienced person.

As you speak with the DJs, pay attention to their professionalism over the phone. It tends to spill over into their DJ style. The most important thing to ask is their experience with your type of event. If you are planning an event like a wedding, it would be normal to expect a professional DJ to have performed for at least 25 of these events. A number in the hundreds is actually common for a DJ who is well established.

DJs with less experience might also do a good job. And they’ll usually cost less. If you talk to one who sounds interesting, ask them for references. Get 4 or 5 names and phone numbers of people who have recently hired them. Call these references and ask about the DJs performance. Any DJ can easily give you 2 or 3 names. Getting more names is a better test of the quality of their performance.

You might also ask the DJ if they are performing in a location where you could see them. If so, make a visit, unannounced. Observe how the DJ interacts with the crowd. Are people having fun? Are people dancing? Is the music too loud? Is the DJ dressed appropriately? These are all good clues to the DJs skills and personality.

Always ask the DJ about their policy on requests. The best DJs will take requests from the audience and work them into their routine. However, do not expect the DJ to play every request. Many requests are simply inappropriate for the mood of the event. A good DJ is not a jukebox. He will blend requests with songs he feels will properly motivate the crowd. The art of DJing is timing, and this takes experience. Forcing a DJ to ignore his or her instincts by making them play every request will result in an ‘uneven’ (and less fun party). On the other hand, the DJ should try to play as many of your audience’s requests as possible. Try to get a feel for their philosophy of requests as you interview them. It is also appropriate to give a DJ a list of 5 or 6 songs you ‘must have’. Just don’t make that list 15 or 20 songs long.

Many DJs boast about the number of songs they have. While variety is great, the fact is that they will only be able to play 60-70 songs in a four hour show. Having the right 60 songs is a lot more important than having 20,000 songs your crowd doesn’t want to hear. After you tell the DJ what type of party you are having and who the audience will be, ask him what type of music they’d suggest. You should feel comfortable with most of his or her selections.

Many DJs also boast about having great equipment. Unless you are familiar with professional audio gear, you probably won’t know which brands are great and which are budget. However, your DJ should at least have professional grade equipment. If they list brand names you are familiar with at the local electronics retailer, that is a cause for further questioning. Home stereo equipment is not designed to stand up to 4-5 hours of high volume use. It could fail in the middle of your party! For example, typical professional DJ power amplifiers usually have 200-600 watts per channel, where consumer amplifiers that are considered powerful may have only 100 watts per channel.

Some DJ companies have more than one DJ working for them. In this case, it’s important to get references on the particular DJ who will be assigned to your show. Even if the company has been around for ten years, they might have hired your DJ last week. He might be a pro himself, or he may be newly trained. Be sure of who you’re getting.

The perfect DJ for you will be affordable, experienced at your type of event, and have great references. There are probably a lot of DJs who fit that description. As you search remember that above all, you want your event to be fun. Also remember, you need to feel comfortable with your DJ.

I hope this helps you, as you look for your entertainment.

James Murphy owns Impact Disco Entertainment and has been involved in the DJ/Entertainment field since 1977. He can be contacted for questions by email – or telephone (07786) 387338. His website is

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Guilty doesn't that sound nice?

A few years ago I used to listen to a radio show called 'Glitterball' on BBC Radio Leeds. It was presented by cringy 70s style DJ called Dr Dance, played naff music and I loved it!

People used to get in touch and request all sorts of rubbish and he'd play it. It was just brilliant. It always featured well in the download charts and seemed to have worldwide listeners. At the time I was living in Dorset, so it certainly had a more than local following.

I'm not sure what happened to it, but it's no longer on. I've hunted for it's show website and I can't find it either. However, it got me to thinking about how I'd enjoyed it and wondered if it could be a viable show to produce and present.

It's not going to be a show for the serious minded music listener, but if you're up for a bit of fun, it could be well worth a listen.

Anyway, last week, I had a night free, and on a whim, I decided to broadcast a show with 'Naughty But Nice' as a name and Guilty Pleasures as a theme. As I only announced 10 minutes before going on air that I was going to do it, I never expected too many listeners. However I was pleasantly surprised how many logged into the show during the time it was on.

More surprising is the amount of downloads/listens again it's had in this week since the show went out. It make me think that this show could have somewhere to go.

So without further ado, here's the Naughty But Nice show for your that the right word?

Here's the playlist:
1 Jingle - Asteroid (Pearl & Dean Theme)
2 Joy Sarney - Naughty Naughty Naughty
3 Tina Charles - Dance Little Lady Dance
4 Baccara - Yes Sir I Can Boogie
5 Andrea True Connection - More More More
6 Aneka - Japanese Boy
7 Starland Vocal Band - Afternoon Delight
8 Pointer Sisters - Slow Hand
9 Sheila & B Devootion - Singin' In The Rain
10 Cilla Black - Something Tells Me
11 Eric Carmen - Hungry Eyes
12 Bucks Fizz - Making Your Mind Up
13 Pussycat - Mississippi
14 Eruption - I Can't Stand The Rain
15 Rocky Horry Show Cast - Touch A Touch A Touch Me
16 Paper Lace - Billy Don't Be A Hero
17 Rod Stewart - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy
18 Raffaella Carra - Do It Do It Again
19 Pete Rodriguez - I Like It Like That
20 Jackson Browne - Stay
21 Boystown Gang - Can't Take My Eyes Off You
22 Exile - Kiss You All Over
23 Jimmy Buffett - Margaritaville
24 Mavericks - Dance The Night Away
25 David Christie - Saddle Up
26 Boney M - Daddy Cool
27 Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy
28 Jimmy Young - Man From Laramie
29 Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting
30 Alessi - Oh Lori
31 Barefoot Man - Big Panty Woman
32 David Dundas - Jeans On
33 Judge Dread - Big Six
33 Barry Blue - Dancing On A Saturday Night
34 Fern Kinney - Together We Are Beautiful
35 Sonny & Cher - I Got You Babe
36 Kenny - Fancy Pants
37 Kelly Marie - Feels Like I'm In Love
38 Gilbert O'Sullivan - Get Down
39 Bay City Rollers - Saturday Night
40 Belle & The Devotions - Love Games
41 Nolans - Who's Gonna Rock You
42 New Seekers - Never Ending Song Of Love
43 Sheena Easton - Nine To Five
44 David Cassidy - Puppy Song
45 Osmonds - One Bad Apple
46 Liquid Gold - Dance Yourself Dizzy
47 Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up
48 Robin Sarstedt - My Resistance Is Low
49 Maureen McGovern - Continental
50 Guy Marks - Loving You Has Made Me Bananas
51 Village People - Can't Stop The Music
To hear  recent shows, go to - you can now also use the player on my re-designed web site to listen again to. Ideal if you want to listen at work!

Till next time...

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Why Twitter makes me feel like a twit

Please help me with this one. Do you understand Twitter?

I really am trying to work it out, but I just don't seem to be able to follow what happens there. I'm following people, but I don't understand their messages. I keep seeing all these weird links but they mean nothing to me. I post, and yet after 382 of the damned things, I don't think I've had a reply to more than one of them.

I've just upgraded my 'On The Radio' website again and wanted to add buttons and stuff from twitter, and when I try to use any of their buttons, all I get is an error on page message.

I've tried to follow others' conversations and I can't make head nor tail of it.

But the worst thing of all for someone like me, is how do you try to get across a message in 140 characters, when I'm a waffler and need that many just to say hello?

I'm determined to get the hang of it, if only to prove to myself that I'm not a twonk!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Silver Surfers, 'Diggin' the Dancing Queen, Days Out & a Wedding

Sounds like the title of a Richard Curtis film doesn't it?

Well it's been a bit hectic this last week or so, and I've not had time to update, so here goes!

As many of you may know, I'm doing a part time ITQ course at College and it's progressing nicely thanks, but when I was there one day last week, I saw a sign for Silver Surfer day. Basically it's when pensioners can come in and have a day learning how to use the net if they hadn't used it before.

Now I know I sometimes think on a parallel dimension to everyone else, bit this is what I saw when I read the sign.

I have been informed since (because I asked), that nobody turned up with a surfboard, so as usual my thinking was a bit out.

Debz the Promogirl managed to get me in hysterics again this week. She told me that she was watching 'Glee' with her daughter, when the cast were singing Abba's 'Dancing Queen', and it was during the song that for the first time she realised what 'Diggin' the Dancing Queen' meant. Apparently, she had always thought that 'Diggin' was a naff Swedish name, and that 'Diggin' was the Dancing Queen's name! It's no wonder we get on so well eh?

I did a wedding last Saturday - Lovely venue, lots of nice people, and a great time was had by all. However, why is it you always get one who misses the tone of the wedding and makes requests that are so wrong for the night and the vibe that's going on. Yes, I got one. From having requests that were, ranging from Motown to Dance tunes, a bit of Disco and that sort of stuff, I had one guy that requested the likes of Erasure 'Blue Savannah', New Kids On The Block 'Hangin' Tough' and The Smiths 'This Charming Man'. Totally not what the Bride & Groom wanted. And when I said I couldn't play them, he went chasing the Bride and Groom and dragged them over to get me to play them. Whilst they both said no, he kept on to them throughout the evening and in the end they relented and said yes to shut him up!

Talk about killing a dance floor - cleared the floor and went from plenty to about 3 or 4. Then I had to start all over again and get people back on there. It's OK, I did it, but it just spoils the flow and means you've got to start all over again.

On Sunday we took a trip into God's own county, that of course being Essex, and went to a barbecue. It was great to meet up with some old friends and it was really good to have a day off - it was the first one I can remember having in ages. I even ended up doing a small guest spot on a Radio station.

Bank Holiday Monday also meant that it was time to get this week's Pure Grooves webmag published, as well as record the 'Flashback show'.

Tuesday is the day I record the 'Pure Grooves' show, and so that brings us about up to date!

There's no getting away from it, my life seems to revolve around music. Till next time...