A radio DJ is responsible for playing music on the radio and talking about various topics in between sets of songs. The format of a particular radio show is usually set by the DJ, and it can vary depending on the station, the time of day, and what type of radio the DJ is on. An A.M. radio DJ is likely to talk more than an F.M. radio DJ, and some new forms of radio will cater to more DJ talking than others. Sometimes a radio show has a particular theme as well, in which case the DJ will be responsible for facilitating conversations on that theme.
Some radio shows feature a call-in format, which means listeners can call into the radio show and speak directly with the radio DJ. This allows the topic at hand to be discussed with a wider array of people, and it can make the radio show more interesting and less predictable. Other radio show formats call for more than one DJ to discuss a topic or various topics throughout the course of the show. Such shows may or may not allow call-in guests. Such shows are usually done in the morning hours or late at night, though on A.M. radio stations, such shows may take place throughout the day.
It is not uncommon for a radio DJ to simply queue up music and play it at the appropriate time, talking only briefly during songs or sets of songs. This DJ may be limited to weather or news reports, contest announcements, and brief banter with call- in guests or in-studio guests. The radio DJ may also facilitate contests on air, giving out various awards to contestants on the air. Sometimes a radio DJ may do an in-person event, at which the DJ broadcasts the show from a location outside the studio.
A DJ will prepare for the show ahead of time, going so far in many cases as to figure out which songs will be played and when. Many radio stations have requirements for how many times a song is played throughout the day, so the DJ may be given a playlist he or she must adhere to. The songs the DJ plays will depend on the type of radio station, current hits, the type of radio show, and so on. In most cases, the DJ will also plan breaks in between songs and lay out which ads will be played during his or her shift.