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Military Apprecition Month

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With this being Military Appreciation Month I'd like to share my story of how my Air Force career & how that experience helped shaped my life & got me started in the DJ business. Long before I enlisted in the Air Force one of my passions was listening to the radio. Born & raised in Chicago there were many great radio stations & radio personalities to listen to. I hoped that I could get into broadcasting someday. After I graduated high school in 1980, I enlisted in the Air Force. I tried to get into the Communications career field when I enlisted but my test scores weren’t quite high enough, so I enlisted in an open general career field. After I finished Tech School my first assignment was at Bergstrom AFB in Austin, TX. My first exposure to the DJ field was as a 19-year-old working at a bar located not too far from the base called the ‘Time Out Lounge’. The drinking laws in Texas back then was you could be 19 years old & drink. The pay wasn’t great, but the experiences were memorable. Keep in mind I’m 19 years old & a long ways away from home for the first time. So, as you can imagine dealing with the public who in most cases had quite a few to drink & requesting that their song be played next was quite a lot to deal with. But I made it through that first night & many nights after that. My next assignment was a remote assignment overseas. I was stationed in Iceland for a year. It was a small base. The base had an Airmen’s Club. The club had a DJ booth in there. Anyone could be up there if they so desired. Guess where I wound up most nights? I didn’t get paid but I really didn’t care. I had so much fun & met so many great people. My Iceland tour was probably the most fun & one of the best years of my life. That was my last exposure to be a DJ until I got out of the service in 1986. I returned home to Chicago. I still had the desire though to continue my DJ passion. For the next few years I worked a full-time job along with working part time for two mobile DJ companies. I also was the DJ entertainment at two local bars in the Chicagoland area. I also did side gigs on my own during that time. I was quite busy to say the least! My DJ business kicked in around 1990-91. In 2008 we moved to Arizona & the DJ business out here got re-started in 2009 & is still going strong today. The DJ business was always meant to be a side gig for me where I could have fun, play some great music & make some money. All in that order! I’ve had great success not only with the DJ business but also with my full-time job. I’ve had some great experiences with the DJ business, have met a lot of wonderful people many who I’m now friends with on Facebook. I have received wonderful reviews & accolades with my business. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! I’m 57 years old now. I’m not sure how much longer I will continue to have my DJ business. I still have the passion & desire to be out there, entertain & make people happy. I hope to continue on for several more years. Hope you enjoyed my journey & story as much as I have.

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Re: Military Apprecition Month

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@Hankster 

Awesome and wonderful biography of your passion for DJing and serving our country!!

I never served as the draft ended when I turned 18 after the Vietnam War, so I don't have service memories to share as you have. But as a fellow DJ, I can see your passion for the business!

My DJ business has become my full time job. What started out as a side job in playing for local church/school functions, private parties, has truly blossomed into my being a regular DJ for the Tim Tebow Foundation, Trustbridge Hospice, Local Autism functions, as well as being a regular DJ for local restaurants, VFW Halls, Knight of Columbus and much more. I had the chance to be a radio DJ for a rock station on Long Island, but wanted to be out there with the people.

Like you, I've enjoyed every minute of being a DJ. Meeting new people, whether a celebrity or not, has always been a great experience. Watching people having a great time on the dance floor, or just toe tapping at their seats and singing along to what I "spin", brings more than a smile to my face.

I'm 60 now, and don't know how much longer I will be doing this. Perhaps we both can be like  Clark and be the oldest living DJ's!! Hey, I've got to help my daughter get through her Master's and Doctorate to be a Psychologist, so I don't see this slowing down anytime soon. There may be a time where this business of mine turns back to being a part time business, but as for now, I'm enjoying the ride and will always "spin" tunes to make people happy, sing and dance!!

Thanks for your service @Hankster .

Have a great one my friend

DJ Stevie 5-19-2019

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Re: Military Apprecition Month

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Wow! You've had a pretty good run yourself in the DJ biz. Nice resume of stuff that you have done & accomplished! I would have like to have either been a radio DJ or a baseball play by play announcer. Maybe in my next life I can accomplish that....lol. Keep on rockin' on my friend. To paraphrase Charlton Heston who said at a NRA convention years ago "I'll give you my microphone when you pry it from my cold, dead hands" 🙂

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Re: Military Apprecition Month

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For those who may be wondering who Clark is in my comment to @Hankster , this  is the famous DJ who I was referring to. For some reason, Thumbtack flagged his first name in their vulgar or offensive terminology.. Maybe Thumbtack is too young to know who he is?

If I offended anyone posting his name, my apologies. I was just trying to give a bit of nostalgia to my post. Hope this comment stays.

DJ Stevie 5-21-2019

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Re: Military Apprecition Month

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@DJStevieI saw the bleep in front of Clark when you posted this the other day. Wasn't sure what you meant at the time but i wasn't offended in the least. I certainly know who Mr. Clark is. I think TT needs to tweak their system. I'm sure there are service pros out there who's first name starts with the letter D followed by the letters ICK. Spent many a Saturday morning or afternoon watchng 'American Bandstand' when I was growing up. Or the New Year's Eve specials he had. After the New Years show he would always take his wife out for a cheeseburger. $25,000 Pyramid was a must watch for me. What a great man he was! 

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Re: Military Apprecition Month

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@Hankster 

Mr. Clark was a big influence to my career. The way he mentioned biographies and some trivia into his intros for artists, inspired me to do the same in my career, prior to or after "spinning" a tunde. People enjoy those bits of trivia, etc. It shows that I'm more than just a play music type of DJ.

It wasn't a Saturday for us as kids/teens until we saw American Bandstand come on. When he started New Year's Rockin' Eve, I don't think he envisioned it to blossom into a major thing now. I also loved watching the Pyramid game.

DJ Stevie 5-22-2019

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Re: Military Apprecition Month

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@Hankster I couldn't love this more! I really enjoyed reading this and learning more about you, and how your experiences lead you to start your DJ business. Thank you for sharing and even more importantly, thank you for your service. 

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Re: Military Apprecition Month

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@Hankster thank you so much for sharing your story and letting us see where that passion for your business comes from. I'm forever grateful for your service and for protecting the freedoms that we have in our country. Including the freedom for one to chase their dreams and start their very own business. I thank any of our other Thumbtack pros who have served in the Military and am excited to read any other experiences that you all may be willing to share and how those have influenced your businesses. 

Give me a 'Kudo' if you find this post helpful or mark 'Best Answer' if it answers your question.