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Life & Times with DJ DiG

DJ DiG is a well-known American disc jockey in the Boston radio market, whose prime years were generally considered to be from the mid-1950s to the 1970s. Following this period, he became involved in the business side of radio as a business manager, president and owner of WVJV-TV (“New Competitor,” 1986, G9), and later as an executive with Pyramid Broadcasting and program manager of their Boston station WXKS-AM.

It was at WMEX that Ginsburg became a popular disc jockey. He was unusual, and not just because of his voice (he jokingly referred to himself as “Old Leather Lungs” or “Old Aching Adenoids”). In an era where top-40 d.j.’s were given nondescript and non-ethnic radio names, Ginsburg kept his birth name and did not change it (Halper, 1981, 26). He also refused a salary from station owner Max Richmond, instead making a deal for a 25% cut of all the commercial revenue Ginsburg would generate for his show. This, he claimed, made him “the highest-paid jock on the station.” According to Billboard magazine, by 1959, he was making an annual salary of $10,000, an amount higher than the median American income at that time. Ginsburg frequently did on-air testimonials for his advertisers, and perhaps the best-known was his work for Adventure Car Hop, a drive-in fast-food restaurant on Route 1 in Saugus, which promoted the “Ginsburger”. According to the car-hop’s owners, Ginsburg’s radio commercials brought as many as two thousand teenagers to his restaurant on a typical summer night. Ginsburg was also known for his ability to create hits by giving them radio exposure on his show. One good example was a novelty song by British vocalist Lonnie Donegan, “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight.” It had been a hit in England, but when released in the United States for the first time in 1959, it was not successful. Then, in 1961, Ginsburg received a copy from a listener and began to play it, and after several days of heavy airplay, the song took off and became a hit in America.


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