Q It Up: Tell Us a Story! - You Did It

You Did It!

From Johnny George [JG[at]johnnygeorge.com], Johnny George Communications Inc.

A few of you may know that I was a Disco DJ back in the day before I got into commercial radio full-time. Additionally, all through high school and college, I was the MC of the Variety Shows, beauty pageants and anything that needed an announcer. I came straight out of college right into the Disco Craze in 1975 in Indianapolis. Due to radio/TV production and on-air experience in college and prior interests, taking over a DJ booth and entertaining the crowds was a nightly “show.” I used SFX, drop-ins, I beat-mixed the music and my programming experience set me above the others who were literally, “playing records.” I just wasn’t satisfied in doing just that – I wanted it to be special and unique. And yes, off-stage, I’m basically shy like most of us. <G>

With that being said, I was nominated for the Billboard Magazine Best Regional Disco Deejay Award for our market in 1980. I had attended the Discotheque convention in NYC the year before, so the ritual was something I had seen before with some big name DJs in the industry. Since I was nominated, several of the DJs in our market all decided to go to the convention and support me and have an excuse for a great couple of days of partying and seeing the Big Apple.

We sat and chatted at the awards dinner sipping our drinks awaiting the announcement from the podium by Bill Wardlow, the Editor of Billboard, when he called my name as one of the finalists. My throat was dry. I was a bit tense, even with several rum and cokes in me, as they called my name as the winner. That moment seemed like an eternity as I tried to stand up and head up to the front table and accept my award. As I walked quickly forward, not feeling my feet even touching the ground, my eyes scanned the front row of celebrities sitting there clapping. Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Michael Sembello, Ray Caviano (RFC Records, who presented the award to me) several members of the Village People, Grace Jones and others. Ray handed me the award after repeating the category and all I could do was smile from ear to ear. John Luongo, who is a legendary producer in NYC and had become a good friend of mine over the years, picked me up by the waist and threw me up into the air and said, “Goddamn it, you did it! You did it!” THAT was one of the most exciting times of my life, only second to the birth of my son three years later.

Q-It-Up-Johnny-George-Pic

The award remains a token of my fun years spinning records when I had the energy to work at the radio station from 9-5+, then home to grab dinner, see my wife and then off to the nightclub several nights a week to spin records. On top of that, I also ran The Indiana Record Pool, a disc-jockey record service for nightclub jocks in our 5-state area.

Whew… those were the days.

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