There is no doubt that mixshows have changed over the years as has the music we play. But, just how much has it changed? I asked one of the first on air mixers Sir Charles Dixon (WBLS, Music Choice) to talk about when he started. Back in 1987 when Charles started mixing at WPGC in D.C there were very few mixshows in the country. In fact the club DJ‘s that were Billboard reporters were far more important to the labels. Most major labels didn’t take mixshows seriously. In those days on air mixers had alot more freedom then most mixers today, not to mention played more independent records then major. Why was this? Well, almost all hip hop, house and go go music was independent, not to mention more “mix friendly” then rotation records.
In the 80’s the music that was being played on air was usually not the same music being played in the clubs. Mixshows allowed the club to come to the radio! Both Charles and I agree the 90’s was the error that live mixshows really took off. PD‘s started to see that they could test records in mixshows and countless records were broken as a result. Artist development was really important in those days and mixshows was a great way to break new artist! So what about today? Well, the most obvious change is we don’t use vinyl any more. It doesn’t matter if you look at this change as good or bad one thing is for sure, it has allowed DJ‘s to remix, produce and mashup music in a way we never dreamed of before.
Another thing that has happened is live mixshows are much less common than per-recorded ones. Who would have thought that a DJ could be anywhere in the world and send a mix through the internet and literally have it play that day. I think that It’s a great thing that now a DJ can do a show in other markets then there own so easily. As for breaking records in mixshow, it really depends on the PD and the Station. Some still have the mentality that mixshows are a great tool to break records, and trust their DJ‘s, others not so much. lol