Catchall term for deejays who don't host radio shows

So, I have always been aware of two types of deejays.

(1) One is the kind who hosts a radio show and talks between music, reads promotional announcements, etc.

(2) The other is the kind who plays music live. The deejay at a dance club or social event or live performance might play other people’s recordings or use a variety of technologies to create modifications of other people’s recordings or original works, either as a back up to vocalists (like rappers) or as a standalone performance.

If I call the first kind of deejay a “radio deejay,” what would I use as a catchall term for the second kind of deejay?


I’m looking for a term that unambiguously excludes deejays that host radio shows or similar things and isn’t “a deejay, but not the kind on radio.” I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear.

I spent a good deal of my 20’s and 30’s going to clubs to hear various DJ’s play and we always just called them “DJ’s”. If the conversation ever turned to a specific one on the radio, then we would call them “radio DJ” or “Drive-time shock jock DJ” or even the “KBBL DJ’s”. So I wasn’t trying to be dismissive in my first post (not entirely, anyway), just that it was always just “DJ”.

Maybe we might have said “club DJ” a time or two, but rarely.

There isn’t one.

When I worked in radio, many of my fellow deejays (actually we called each other “jocks”) moonlighted at clubs, so they were both.

If you want to be nitpicky about it, you could call one group “radio deejays” and the other “club deejays.”

I do want to be nitpicky about it, so thank you for that.

Yeah, if I hear someone described as a DJ I would assume they are a club DJ unless they are described as a radio DJ.


You’d call them “richer that you’ll ever be.”

The World's 12 Highest-Paid DJs

Yes, there are still tons of wedding DJs scraping by. But even the lowest levels of club DJs are making good money, and many, many lower level club/concert DJs earn more each year that the most well-compensated radio DJs.

“EDM” (electronic dance music) is a catchall term for the music played by DJs at festivals and very high-end clubs in places like Las Vegas. A top DJ can make a million dollars a night at some venues/events, in addition to what they make producing and remixing other people’s songs.

Over here the people who host music programmes on the radio like to be called ‘presenters’. DJs are the ones who do ‘clever’ stuff with turntables at clubs or turn up to do the music at parties.

Moved to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

I’ve seen the term Event DJ.

Is there a further distinction between the guy who plays music at your wedding and the guy who plays EDM at a rave? Or the guy who scratches records in hip hop?

The reason I ask is because I’ve always thought of disc jockeying as less creative than what actual musicians do. Their creativity ends after they’ve picked out the playlist, and most radio deejays don’t even do that anymore, a computer does it to maximize ad revenue.

But people like Cut Chemist and Deadmau5 seem to be real musicians. And I don’t even know how much EDM music is created on a synthesizer or computer versus samples cut from another record. Not all electronic musicians are DJs, right? Or are they?

Why do all these different pursuits have the same job title? Is it because they don’t actually play an instrument, but just “press play”? I suppose they all evolved from the basic “guy playing records” role?

This might help:
The EDM Dictionary: Producer (n.)

And, just to add to the fun, “producer” is a different job for most pop music than for most electronic music.

From my limited experience as the second type of DJ, the term I’ve most seen is mobile DJ. And, yes, producer for those that make the music a DJ might play. Many can be both and it can be a hard distinction to make for some DJs that mix elements of many songs together into something new and sort of unique but not unfamiliar.

So are there any club/event/mobile DJs that have or have done a radio DJ spot? Even better if any actually just did their whole thing live on the radio.

All the time. Essential Mix is but one of many of weekly broadcasts.

Cool. The only radio I get around here is country music, and I’m not interested in that, so I just don’t know this stuff.

But from your link:
Essential Mix is one of the longest-running programmes in the current BBC Radio 1 schedule, and is one of very few Radio 1 shows which is not broadcast live.

I was hoping for live DJing, since the events that have mobile DJs aren’t my thing.