By Stacy Zemon
When Jerry Rice was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, he said in his induction speech that throughout his entire career he was motivated by fear of failure. DJ Mike Walter admits that the same is true for him.
“I’m certainly not trying to compare myself to the greatest receiver of all time, but when I heard that speech it resonated with me. I have a fear of being irrelevant…a fear that I’ll leave this planet without having left a little bit of a mark. When it comes to running my DJ company, that’s a big motivating factor.”
In spite of or maybe because of Mike’s apprehension, he’s risen to the top in our business, becoming one of the best-known leaders in the DJ industry. Besides running a successful New Jersey-based multi-op, since 2001 Mike has Produced and Co-Emceed the annual opening night party and “DJ of the Year” competition at the DJ Expo in Atlantic City with lots of help from his staff.
“I’ve spoken at a lot of trade shows, DJ conventions, and local groups as well. DJ Times’ DJ Expo, The Mobile Beat Las Vegas show, The ADJA Las Vegas DJ show, John Young’s DJ Conclave, Robbie Britton’s ARM DJ’s, EPMEN and The DJ Retreat. I’ve also spoken at Wedding Industry events like The Wedding MBA and The Wedding Market Expo.
My seminars are often about expanding and growing your business. I have a lot of advice to offer on things like finding good people, training them in your image and managing your staff. I also have a seminar that I’ve put together called “Ten Things You Can Do To Have a Better Day” which I am very proud of. Every time I give this seminar I get feedback from people who say things like, ‘you motivated me to lose some weight’ or ‘my wife and I have started having a weekly date night because of your seminar’ or ‘I’m a lot more productive because of some of the advice you offered.’ Those are very rewarding things to hear.”
Mike Walter’s DJ career began in his hometown of Queens, New York in 1984. He is a graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting and has a communications degree from Union County College. Mike worked with Star DJs from 1988 to 1993 where he helped to develop a staff of over 50 by training new recruits and handling an increasingly complex schedule. In early 1993, Mike 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 MCing and DJing. Mike bought out his partner in 1998 and Elite Entertainment has continued its growth (20 emcees and 1200+ annual events).
Because Mike has always believed in training talent from within, he spreads his message by speaking at trade shows, writing for DJ publications, and through his DVD and CD-ROMrom package entitled “Training Your Next Great DJ” and his book: “Running Your Multi-Op” are all available at DJMikeWalter.com
You can check out some of his articles in the “Multi-Op” section of the “Knowledge Bank” here on ProMobileDJ.com. Mike also maintains a blog on my DJMikeWalter.com site that is a supplement to Mike’s monthly articles on the front page of the Disc Jockey News.
Mike is a member and a past Director of Think Tank. This elite group of DJs and other complimentary event business owners meets a few times every year at various locations throughout the country for three days of intensive education.
And, whether at home or away, being the health conscious guy that he is, Mike takes a long run three or four times a week.
“My greatest running partner who I’ve run side by side with for literally thousands of miles and who listens to me without ever passing judgment is my dog Shea. He loves to run so much that when I’m putting my sneakers on in the morning he starts to get excited. Sometimes if I’m just going to the gym instead of running I feel terrible to leave him behind. In fact if he gives me a guilty enough look I’ve been known to change my plans last minute.
When I attend a DJ Conference I love to find some industry peers to run with. Marcello, Jay Sims and Ron Michaels are just a few of my favorite running partners. It’s a great way to start a day and when you’re side by side with someone who’s company you enjoy and the conversation is stimulating the miles just melt away. My good friend Eric Rubinson has actually run some marathons with me and made those 26.2 miles a lot more enjoyable. “
I asked Mike what makes him unique among his peers?
“I never really thought I’d make much of himself and sometimes when I sit in my backyard and toss the ball around to my dogs (one of my favorite chill out activities) I pinch myself that I somehow stumbled on this great occupation that taps into whatever talents I have. If I can give back to this industry in some small way, by writing an article that offers a tip to some readers, or by giving a seminar that educates and or motivates an attendee or two, then I’ll feel less like a schnorrer and more like a contributor.”
What’s the real reason that you do so much for our industry, Mike?
“The real reason I do the seminars and write articles is that I want to leave a mark and this is, I believe, the best way I can do it. I have a message that I know now has helped a lot of people. When someone writes me or stops me at an industry convention and says, ‘you’ve helped my business,’ that means the world to me.”
Elite Entertainment has been selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country. What Mike is most proud of is that his own company exemplifies the message he has been preaching to the DJ Industry for years: There IS a way to combine Quality and Quantity.
Mike, have no fear. You have created a legacy of which you can be very proud. It’s no wonder that this past August at the DJ Expo, Steve Moody and Sean McKee presented you with a Lifetime Achievement Award.