Vt. DJ celebrates 50 years on the air - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. DJ celebrates 50 years on the air

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You may recognize his voice.

"I am amazed it's crept up on me this way," Joel Najman said.

It's been 50 years behind the mic for radio DJ Joel Najman, three decades as host of "My Place" on Vermont Public Radio.

"'My Place' has an incredible, incredible fan base; it's amazing. Everybody emails, from people who say no, that was an incredible program, can't wait until next week," said Robin Turnau of VPR.

Every Saturday night for the past 30 years, Najman has played the songs and told the stories behind the music from the 1950s and 60s.

"I started to play music, but also telling what I knew about the records. I guess over the years I realized that it was the stories behind the songs that really intrigued me," Najman said.

Najman is a music historian. He has met many of the great performers and writers over the years, getting the story behind the story, giving meaning behind the music.

"It just reinforces my notion good music is timeless," Najman said.

His deep memory of music began in New York as a child, just a train ride from the epicenter of the music industry, researching lyrics and the stories behind those words.

"I found it fascinating," Najman said. "I still find it absolutely fascinating. I find someone in the business for many years, you were behind the scenes or upfront as a recording artist-- I love to get this story. I love to share it on the air."

Decades of sharing his love of popular culture with his listeners, a loyal audience that loves to go back in time.

"Popular culture that has become such a part of our lives that it's inseparable," Najman said. "You play the song, people remember where they were, what they were doing, how the life was at the time."

It's a time and a place that's still alive thanks to Joel Najman.

Saturday, Najman and his fans will celebrate with a "Go-Go" party. It's Sat., Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. in Middlebury's Town Hall Theater. Joel will be spinning tunes, sharing stories and getting everyone on their feet. Costumes are encouraged and they'll have prizes for the best '60s hairdo!

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