National DJ Day might celebrate the work of our favorite disc jockeys, but it stems from the work of ONE famous jock: Alan Freed, whom you might know as “Moondog.” This 1950s DJ, who coined the term “rock and roll,” is the reason we honor DJs on January 20. On this day, we celebrate the talents of all the disc jockeys, from those playing the “Chicken Dance” for the millionth time at a wedding, to the radio personalities who help you get through the morning commute.
National DJ Day timeline
Howard Stern fired
Despite high ratings, New York's WNBC Radio famously fired the controversial "shock jock" after a little over three years on the air. Stern would eventually take his show to satellite radio and go on to become one of the most successful radio personalities of all time.
Alan Freed born
Freed, a DJ pioneer, played a mix of blues, country and R&B. What did he call it? Rock and roll! Freed arranged live concerts attended by racially mixed audiences in the 1950s — a breakthrough at the time. He also appeared in several movies.
The first DJ
California's Ray Newby was a 16-year-old college student when he played records from a small transmitter. This predated the term "disc jockey," which wasn't used until decades later.
National DJ Day Activities
Call in a request
Phone in your favorite radio show and request your favorite song. While you're on the phone, make sure the DJ knows that YOU know it's National DJ Day — and say "thanks."
Have a dance party
Grab your spouse, kids, or best friends and blare your favorite music. Have an impromptu dance party in your living room.
Turn to social media
Hop on Twitter or Facebook and post about #NationalDiskJockeyDay. Tag a favorite DJ and/or radio station, and make sure they know how much you appreciate their work.
5 Truly Odd Spots To Go Clubbing
Inside a glacier
Iceland hosted its Secret Solstice festival in 2015 at a temporary club in a glacier.
In a tree house
The Tree House Club, in Nairobi Kenya, fits 1,000 people.
On a Serbian river
Klub 20/44 is on a rickety barge tethered to a bank on the Danube River.
In a cave on a Spanish island
Cova Santa cave in Ibiza is more than 80-feet deep, and it still has the pirate lair from five centuries ago.
Under in the Pacific Ocean
You can rent out the Maldives' Subsix restaurant as a club, which rests on a coral reef nearly 20 feet underwater.
Why We Love National DJ Day
They wake us up in the morning
The morning commute can be a drag, especially in the dead of winter. Morning show DJs can keep us alert and awake — all while spinning our favorite tunes.
They get us dancing
No wedding, bar or bat mitzvah, or celebration is complete without a DJ making sure our guests are having a good time. Once the lights dim and the music is pumping, the evening can turn magical.
Music is important in every culture
From the clapsticks of indigenous Australian tribes to the sorna and dohol, used in ancient Persian folk tunes, music has been a part of our DNA since the beginning. It's been proven to reduce stress, while improving both our mood and memories.
National DJ Day dates