Did A DJ Just Serve You Lunch? Finding Great Talent in Unexpected Places

March 26, 2008 by Mike Walter

Years ago I was doing a wedding at a local banquet hall where the Maitre D is gay. This is actually pretty common in our area. Many gay men seem to have the right talents and personalities and in many cases they make the best Maitre Ds. More on that in a bit.

Well, this one in particular Maitre D, Larry, was very outspoken about his sexual preference and openly joked about it. He was cool and since I grew up with a homosexual older brother I’ve always been very comfortable around gay men. So during this one wedding that we were doing, Larry came over to the DJ table while the dance floor was packed and very subtly pointed to a guy on the dance floor and said, “He’s a member of the ‘family.'” Knowing that was code for, “that guy’s gay.” I turned incredulously towards Larry and said “how could you possibly know that?” I mean the guy was dancing with a gorgeous woman in his arms. How could he be gay? And more importantly, how could someone know just from looking at him.

Larry smiled and said, “I have gay-dar.”

Well, I never did discover whether that guy on the dance floor was straight or gay but that one statement stuck with me. Not for the purposes of discovering people’s sexual preferences but the fact that if you have your eyes wide open, you just might see things that are right in front of you. You just might look at the way someone presents themselves, you might listen to their voice and watch them dance and you might realize: that person has great DJ potential!

Instead of just leaving a tip for your next great waiter, you might leave a tip and a business card. Instead of just saying ‘hello’ to that smiling person at the front counter at your gym every morning, you might ask them if they have their weekends free and if they ever thought about DJing.

I have a theory (I have lots of theories actually) that you are in the presence of a great potential DJ at least once a month. Maybe it’s a guest at one of your parties or a bartender who serves you a drink or your kid’s third grade teacher. Or perhaps it’s the salesmen who sold you your last vehicle or your wife’s personal trainer. Trust me, they’re there. And if you are interested in expanding your business and if finding the right talent to do so is your biggest stumbling block, then my first advice to you is to open your eyes and see the people who are all around you. Audition them in your head and then when you think you’ve spotted one, don’t be afraid to approach them, tell them a little bit about the DJ profession and offer them a business card.

In the next few weeks I’ll be running through some specific areas that are better to recruit from then others. As I mentioned, many gay men make great Maitre Ds. And there is nothing wrong with generalizing that way. In the same vein, many bartenders or salesmen make great DJs. In my upcoming articles, I explain why.

Mike Walter’s emceeing career began in his hometown of Queens, New York in 1984. With an eye towards radio, Mike attended Connecticut School of Broadcasting in 1988 where he was chosen from his class of 25 as “Most Likely to Succeed.” After school, Mike helped to develop a staff of DJs from 12 to over 50 by training new recruits and handling an increasingly complex schedule. In early 1993, Mike felt an increasing desire to venture out on his own and by March of that year he became a partner in a much smaller Mobile DJ company, Elite Entertainment. He quickly had an impact on the Elite staff, imposing his high standards of emceeing and DJing. Mike bought out his partner in 1998 and Elite Entertainment has continued its growth (21 emcees in 2006) and sets the standard for excellence in New Jersey. Mike has always believed in training talent from within and his message has helped show hundreds of DJs from across the country that it is possible to grow their companies without sacrificing quality.

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