In the Eye of the Storm: Part 1

By Stu Chisholm, “The Complete Disc Jockey”

At one time or another for most of us, crisis and turmoil in our personal lives can intrude upon our professional lives in some very disturbing ways.

For instance, if you use your family vehicle to transport your DJ setup to a gig, a mid-week accident can throw you a huge curve ball.

Maybe you’ve also noticed that life seldom dishes out one insult at a time, but heaps-on several things all at once!  (“What?  My insurance lapsed?”)

While we can’t possibly prepare for every eventuality, there are some things we can predict that, by preparing now, will blunt any catastrophe down the road.  I used the vehicle scenario because that is one “weak link” all mobile DJs share.  What if your car, van or trailer was suddenly unavailable?  Do you have a plan?  (And are you SURE your plan is viable?)

A True Story

Earlier this year I was a speaker at the Canadian Disc Jockey Show in Toronto.  It was a fairly short drive from where I live in suburban Detroit, but I thought it might be less expensive to ditch my 24’ commercial cube truck and rent a nice, small, economy car.

I called my local car rental and thought I was all set up.  When I finally got there, though, I was in for a rude awakening!  Because I loathe paying interest, I long ago eliminated credit cards in favor of debit cards.

Apparently the car rental place no longer see them as equivalent, even though I had a healthy balance that easily covered their security deposit and estimated charges.  They asked me to provide a current bill.  I provided several.  The trouble was that they all said, “Stu & His Crew” (my company name) rather than my name.  My DBA papers didn’t satisfy them.  So, only hours before the scheduled departure time, I had no transportation.

Calling and/or visiting the remaining “big three” car rentals revealed the same thing: a lot has changed since I last rented a car, and none would rent to someone not in the pocket of a bank via a major credit card.  I ended up biting the bullet and driving my van up anyway.

The Flaw in My Back-Up Plan

Now, you might be asking what this has to do with preventing a DJ catastrophe!  The short answer is that it alerted me to a flaw in my back-up plan, which was renting a cube truck through my local Penske dealer should my own van ever break down or be taken out of service.  Do they also operate the same way as the car rental companies?

It turns out that the answer is “yes!”  But unlike the car people, my Penske dealer remembered me, and, in fact, still had my card on his “preferred customer” wall.  I was able to sit down with him, explain my situation and ink a deal should my own van become inoperative.

All of this would never have happened, and a serious potential future disaster that could have ruined someone’s wedding day and taken my reputation along with it, have been averted, all because I paid attention when a more trivial problem came along.

In Part 2 of this article, I’ll talk about the truly unpredictable ingredients of life: family, health and relationships.


  • Stu Chisholm of Stu & His Crew Professional Disc Jockey Service in Michigan has worked in several areas of the DJ Universe.

    He’s been a radio, mobile, club and roller skating rink DJ in the Detroit area since 1979, and done commercial voice-over work, as well.

    Stu has been a keynote and featured speaker at DJ trade shows in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. He is the author of the book, “The Complete Disc Jockey” and is a regular columnist with Mobile Beat Magazine.

    To contact him, email You can grab Stu’s book at

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