'Nighttime Mayor' Of Ocean City Lives His Dream Life | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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'Nighttime Mayor' Of Ocean City Lives His Dream Life

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Ocean City's DJ Batman has been playing the resort town's clubs for more than 30 years.
Bryan Russo
Ocean City's DJ Batman has been playing the resort town's clubs for more than 30 years.

Thousands of gigs over 30 years

And yet Beatty is a mayor of sorts; he's been dubbed "the nighttime mayor of Ocean City," after decades of entertaining people under the name DJ Batman.

"I've done over 7,500 bookings in 30 years, okay," says Beatty. "Back in the hey day, it was 260, 270 jobs a year."

In addition to all those club gigs, he also spends a few hours every weekend on Ocean 98.1, an FM rock radio station nestled deep inside Seacrets, one of the East Coast's largest clubs. In between songs during his Sunday show, we chat on a balcony overlooking the sea of bikini-clad tourists sipping on their umbrella drinks while sunbathing in the bay.

"I love throwing parties," he says. "I love music and I don't want to get too schmaltzy but I love people because everyone has a story, and everybody's cool. So you put those together and I'm doing my dream. I don't even want to call it a job. I'm living a dream life."

Like a lot of locals, Beatty came down here for a summer and never really left. He had to lie about his age to get a job on the kiddie rides on the boardwalk when he was 15, and he says he’s been lying up about his age ever since.

Obsessed with radio from an early age

As a kid in Baltimore, Beatty says he was brought up on a healthy diet of AM radio, Dick Clark, and Billboard top 40. His transistor radio was a constant companion; so much so, it often got him in trouble in school. He recalls one teacher's words.

"Beatty, put that radio down, you'll never make a living doing what you are listening to," the teacher told him.

Then, in the early '70s, during a brief stint in the Air Force, he was a radio deejay in Taiwan, spinning the top 40 countdown on the Armed Forces Radio Network.

By 1981, he got his first club gig, but the bar owner had to call the local liquor board to see if his license allowed live entertainment. Beatty says the answer changed everything.

"The quote that started my career was 'certainly you can have a DJ,'" says Beatty, "'a DJ is not entertainment.'"

'DJ Batman' is born

The name DJ Batman came a few weeks later, after he and his wife jokingly signed a risqué telegram to a local club owner "from Batman and Robin." Yet, when he saw he was being promoted as DJ Batman on the marquee a week later, the name stuck. But in the early '90s, he had to go to arbitration after getting a cease-and-desist order from the owners of the Batman brand.

"I sent them back a wadded up piece of paper saying I had nothing to do with Batman," says Beatty, "If they saw me in tights they'd know why. And I won the case."

Beatty has played almost every club on Ocean City's scene, but there's one career highlight that stands out.

"1996, opening night of Voodoo Lounge tour of the Stones, I was booked to play their private party," says Beatty. "This wasn't a radio schmooze thing. This was a private party, in their room for the Stones, the Counting Crows, their family, the kids, and their friends from midnight to six. And if you have about nine more hours, I’ll tell you the whole story."

DJ enjoys an endless summer

When asked if he ever thinks about doing anything else, he says he's already living the dream, so how could he possibly top what he's already doing?

"What do you do on your day off when what you do for a living is play and listen to your favorite music, talk to really nice people, drink on the owner's bar tab and then get a little bit of cash at the end of the night for doing that," queried Beatty, "I mean what do you do on your day off?"

The answer: "You go to the same bars and do the same thing, you just don't get paid," says Beatty.

And for this rabble-rousing deejay called Batman, the party never really stops. The night goes on forever, the summer never ends, and they’re always playing your favorite song.

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