The lesser, more mundane, things prove every bit as perplexing as the greater, grave things. By way of example regarding the latter, I find it perplexing that a group of extreme conservatives will shut down the U.S. government over spending issues …
The lesser, more mundane, things prove every bit as perplexing as the greater, grave things. By way of example regarding the latter, I find it perplexing that a group of extreme conservatives will shut down the U.S. government over spending issues (specifically related to Obamacare) but seem okay with the fact that we’re chopping up and scrapping billions of dollars in military equipment as we get ready to exit Afghanistan. Those same extreme conservatives will typically support saddling up for the next “engagement” and footing the bill for it in spite of the fact that medical-related and disability issues for Afghanistan and Iraq vets will cost $750 billion from this point forward.
As I said, I just don’t get it. But I’m not talking about guvment or political persuasions here. I’m talking about disc jockeys. Since when is a DJ worth $46 million a year?
My favorite DJ of all-time was Art Roberts at WLS in Chicago. Now, I didn’t live in Chicago; I lived in Clarke County, Ala., which is a far piece from the Windy City. When I was a boy, however, WLS and Art Roberts could be heard loud and clear over the radio at night in my hometown. “Hey, baby, they’re playing our song,” Art would say, and then spin that great rock and roll from the WLS turntables. Man, that was some sweet listening back in those days!
Fast forward: Imagine my surprise recently to read a Forbes magazine article on “million-dollar DJs spinning at mega-nightclubs” in Las Vegas. Who the heck is Calvin Harris and how does this guy make $46 million a year as a DJ? And who is Tiesto ($32 million)? Or David Guetta ($30 million).
Really, I didn’t have a clue that disc jockeys made that kind of money. I guarantee Art Roberts, a DJ legend from the 1960s, didn’t make anywhere near that kind of money, not even if you take into account inflation and anything else you want to factor in.
That kind of money was as improbable back then as a moon landing. Art probably got free doughnuts and coffee and $30,000 a year at a superstation like WLS. Calvin Harris, on the other hand, makes $300,000 a night playing music that ain’t exactly Motown-sounding if you know what I mean.
Some years back, on a whim, I called WLS just to ask whatever happened to Art Roberts. The female who answered sounded about the age of someone who would go to Vegas to hear Swedish House Mafia ($25 million) spin some tunes. “Who?” she said, when I asked about Art. “Never mind,” I said, and hung up.
I know; it wasn’t fair to expect a kid who wasn’t even born in the early 1960s to know who Art Roberts was, even if she was working at the station that made him a rock and roll legend for people like me. I guess it’s the same principle as the billions in military equipment that is going to be destroyed, left behind or become obsolete when we pull out of Afghanistan and for which we’ll pay all over again the next time. You can’t be blamed, I guess, if you don’t know. If you do know and have budget and spending concerns? Well, that’s something else altogether.
Bob Morgan is a retired, award-winning journalist and an author.