MS. REBECCA SHEIR
So far today we've heard from rebels and rabble-rousers in politics, education, theatre. But on today's "On The Coast," where coastal reporter, Bryan Russo, takes us around the eastern shore of Maryland and coastal Delaware, we'll meet a rebel rabble-rouser from the world of music.
MR. BRYAN RUSSO
If you look at the sun visor covering Mike Beatty's shaggy hair, the Hawaiian shirt on his back or the tattered Vans on his feet, mayor might not be the first word that comes to mind. And yet, the 62 year-old Beatty is a mayor of sorts. He's been dubbed the "night-time mayor" of Ocean City after three decades of entertaining people under the name, "DJ Batman."
MR. MIKE BEATTY
And I've done over 7,500 bookings in 30 years, okay. You know, back in the heydays, 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, an FM rock radio station nestled deep inside Secrets, 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 umbrella drinks while they're sunbathing in the bay.
Love throwing parties. I love music. And, again, I don't want get too schmaltzy, but I really like people. You know, everybody has a story. Everybody's cool, you know. So you put those all together, man, and I'm doing my dream -- I even hate to call it a job. I'm living a dream life. I mean, this is so cool.
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. So long, in fact, he's convinced people he's in 70s and still parties in the clubs every night, because he makes a habit of saying he's 10 years older than he really is. As a kid in Baltimore, Beatty says he was brought up on a healthy diet of AM radio, Dick Clark and Billboard Top 40.
He says his transistor radio was a constant companion, so much so it often got him in trouble in school. He recalls one teacher's words, which sound pretty funny these days.
Beatty, put that radio down. You'll never make a living out of what you're listening to. I would love to find her.
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 network. By 1981, he got his first club gig, but the bar owner had to call the local liquor board to see if the license allowed live entertainment. Beatty says the answer changed everything.
And to quote the start of my career was, well, certainly, you can have a deejay. A deejay is not entertainment.
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." When Beatty saw he was being promoted as DJ Batman on the marquis a week later, the name stuck. But in the early '90s he had to go 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 have nothing to do with Batman. If you saw me in tights, you'd know why. And I won the case.
Beatty's played almost every club on Ocean City's scene, but there's one career highlight that stands out.
1996, opening night of the Voodoo Lounge tour of the Stones. I was booked to play their private party. It wasn't a radio schmooze thing. This was a private party in their room for the Stones, Counting Crows, their family, the kids and friends from midnight to 6:00. And if you got about nine more hours, I'll tell you the whole story.
And Mike Beatty is chock full of stories. When I ask him if he thinks about doing something else, he says he's already living the dream, so how could he possibly top what he's already doing.
You know, what do you do on your day off when what you do for a living is play your favorite music, 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? What do you do on your day off?
So what do you do on your day off?
You go to the same bars and you do the same thing, but you don't get paid.
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.
Man, you got to love the Ramones.
I'm Bryan Russo.
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