Stu Chisholm


Stu Chisholm

Stu Chisholm had been collecting music since he was about eight years old and began his DJ career in 1979. After much hard work, trial-and-error, and a stint at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, he studied the DJ arts with famous Michigan broadcaster, Bill Henning, at a local college. Stu interned at Detroit's rock powerhouse, WRIF. To his radio and mobile work Stu later added club gigs at Detroit's best venues, and voiceover work. He has shared his extensive DJ experience through his Mobile Beat columns, as a seminar speaker and through his book, “The Complete Disc Jockey: A Comprehensive Manual for the Professional DJ,” released in 2008.




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It’s Not Ego… It’s Good Business – By Stu Chisholm

July 8, 2018 by Stu Chisholm
Recently, in a Facebook DJ forum, an entertainer marveled at the hundreds of photos that were posted from an event at which he was the entertainer. He remarked that, among photos of everything from the place settings to the food itself, there was not one photo of his performance. Predictably he was descended upon by other DJs telling him, “It’s not about you—it’s about the bride and groom,” and so on. Some accused him of being a cheapskate wanting free photos to use in his promotional materials. Yet I couldn’t help but recall all of the articles on these pages, as well as others, where DJs were told about their worth; of h... [read more]
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The Pherein Principle by Stu Chisolm

June 4, 2018 by Stu Chisholm
I first heard the word “pherein” (pronounced “fair- in”) from my wife’s mentor and artistic collaborator, Joseph Wesner. A sculptor of some fame in art circles, he created a series of abstract sculptures he called the “Pherein Series.” As he described them (and the term), “pherein” is a Greek word that means to both support and carry forward. I stashed this factoid in the back of my brain until one day when I was at my favorite DJ toy store with some cash, but no real plan. (Sound familiar?) For some reason, “pherein” popped into my head, which led to the question...read more]
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Appearance vs. Protection – By Stu Chisholm

May 31, 2018 by Stu Chisholm
One of the facts of life for a busy mobile DJ is the need for good protection for our gear. Just last weekend while oofing my Rock-N-Roller up the ramp of my truck in the rain, one of the wheels slipped over the edge and I dumped the entire load on the pavement roughly two feet below. If it hadn’t been for the tough road cases I had my amp and other gear tucked inside, it would’ve spelled disaster. Shock (such as that), rain, direct sunlight, dust and other equipment killers are an inescapable part of mobile DJ reality. CONFUSING PROTECTION FOR PRESENTATION (AND VICE-VERSA) Accepting this fact, equipment manufacturers such as Gator, Odyssey, Gru... [read more]
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Size Matters: To Scale Up Or Pare Down?

August 25, 2017 by Stu Chisholm
My long-time readers will recall the story of my first DJ system, a huge monstrosity built around a DJ “coffin” with two turntables, a full-sized mixer, two racks with cassette decks, dual CD player, two Sony Minidisc decks, a drum machine, and a wired and wireless mic. A stretch of box truss held a massive light show, with eight “intelligent” fixtures and several standard lights, topped-off by a 16” glass mirror ball. Why did I build such a rig? Well, back in the 1980s and early ‘90s, one frequent client was a local singles club that had dances in a school gym. It had a full-sized stage. When I first spoke to their organizers, I heard many complaints about their previous entertainer, who had one last scheduled engagement. I decided to be a proverbial “fly on the wall.” I slipped-in near th... [read more]
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From the Ground Up: A Finale (of Sorts)

July 30, 2017 by Stu Chisholm
It has been quite a while since the previous installment of my blog and mag series about the total overhaul of my DJ business, Stu & His Crew. One of the reasons I’ve put off any more writing is because things slowed down to such a crawl, there wasn’t anything new to report! I had completely upgraded my playback systems, using HP Omen laptops and the (then) brand new Numark NV. I had completely refurbished my old 1996 Ford box truck, restoring its looks and operation to like new condition. I’ve overhauled my business plan, redone my logo (keeping only my name, albeit changing over to an LLC) and have been taking some steps to improv... [read more]
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Branding vs. Booking?

July 14, 2017 by Stu Chisholm
On these pages back in August of 2009, Jeffrey Gitomer made an analogy between our entertainment services and various high-end products and venues at a Charlotte shopping mall. The bottom line seems to be that the guys running sales had empty stores, while high-end stores like Starbuck’s, Louis Vuitton and Apple had tons of customers lining up to hand over their hard-earned money. I’ve seen variations of this theme in social media recently, so let’s take a moment to unpack this idea a bit more fully. To begin with, my very first thought was that Apple, Louis Vuitton and Starbuck’s have MASSIVE advertising budgets that dwarf anything that eve... [read more]
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Ready to Play, Come Rain or Come Shine

June 17, 2017 by Stu Chisholm
So, this happened: A banquet facility here in Michigan built a gorgeous, landscaped outdoor pavilion specifically for wedding ceremonies. When my helper and I arrived to provide PA, I was impressed by the thought that went into it. There was a bar-like area that served as a DJ booth for weddings, or an actual bar for, say, an evening outdoor patio party for the golfers at the club. With a pergola overhead and a two- circuit outdoor electrical box close by, it seemed like an ideal situation. But then the dark clouds rolled in. HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN...AND AGAIN Set... [read more]
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Your Speakers: Your Voice

June 2, 2017 by Stu Chisholm
If you attended MBLV in 2015, you might recall my article, “Good Sound Doesn’t Happen By Magic,” being included in the special expo issue of Mobile Beat. In it, I wrote about the differences between active and passive speakers (powered vs. unpowered) and all of the various signal processors that are designed to help make them sound better. Since then, I have become concerned about the attitudes among some of my peers and colleagues, especially the entry-level DJs, about speakers. All too often, a DJ will research and pay a ton of money for the computer they use, their controller, their lighting, etc. and leave the remaining crumbs of their budget... [read more]
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Are You Summerized?

May 18, 2017 by Stu Chisholm
It might seem silly, with the snowflakes still dancing outside the window for many of us, to be thinking about summer. Just as a smart DJ starts contacting Christmas clients in July, he or she will also be planning ahead for those warm summer months just weeks away. On the business end, most of us have companies, businesses and groups that have summer picnics and fairs to contact, not to mention planning the second phase of our wedding advertising; the bridal show season has yet to peak! Right now is not too early. There are also those other, less obvious things we should be thinking about. Sunshine on his shoulders might’ve made John Denver happy, b... [read more]
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Increasing Complexity: Help or Hindrance?

December 4, 2016 by Stu Chisholm
W hen I began my DJ career in 1979, things were much harder. In the realm of media, vinyl records were heavy and bulky, and both records and cassette tapes presented many technical problems. Those included: how one could cue a particular song on a tape; keeping dust and dirt off of the grooves of a record; mechanical shocks from bouncy dance floors that could cause the record to skip; cue burn (the damage to vinyl caused by back-cueing); and so on.175-16-17 Even when CDs became the norm, eliminating most of those issues, they had a few of their own. Early CD players didn’t have pitch controls, and they, too, could skip if mechanically jostled. Error correction... [read more]