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Dennis Hampson
by Tracey Allison

Passion has been the main ingredient for success throughout Dennis Hampson's career.

Along with his positive attitude and strong belief in setting goals. "If you don't go for it you're going to sit yourself done when you're my age or older, and say `gee, I wish I would have done that.' I don't have to worry about that because I've really tried everything I wanted to try, and so I can say I don't have any regrets about what I've done."

The 53 year old has tried many different things over the years and believes "the best way to predict your future is to create it." It all began as a child when Hampson became a DJ at a very young age. "I couldn't even drive a car so my parents had to drive me to my first gig." Hampson was always interested in theatre, performing, and acting as a child so being a DJ "seemed to be a good door-opener," even though it paid only five dollars. "I had to create my own living to some degree. I had to get passionate about something and music seemed to be natural to me because I was interested in it."

In the early' 60s he was a roadie and travelled around with different groups. He went to DeVry Institute of Technology and earned a degree in Electronics. From there, he went on to work for the CBC for 25 years. He started as a broadcast technician and then became a technical supervisor of program broadcast services. During his time there he started the DJ Service in 1966, which grew to be a fairly large company by 1970-1972. "Eventually it got to be too much for me and I focused on CBC because I began to travel for them."

Hampson found being a technician and working in all the studios to be a very interesting job, where

he had really good years. "When I went to the CBC my whole life became broadcasting and working with bands. It really got me interested a lot in music and artists and I guess that's the way it started."

In 1990 he became "burned out" and decided it was time for a career change. He planned to go back to school, but the 1990 tight budget times kept him from having that opportunity.

At that time he was also working for the Canadian Disc Jockey Association, a national not-for-profit disc jockey association in Canada, the only one at that time, where he was a National Licensing Director. "That's one of my great passions actually, the rights of composers, authors, and publishers to some kind of return on their creativity."

He eventually became Executive Director until 1998 when he retired. "I was the first executive director they ever had, so it was a really challenging role and sucked me in deeper." From there he traveled across Canada talking to DJs and making sure they were aware of what their obligations were in terms of licensing.

In the early '90s he co-wrote a book with Robert Lindquist called, Spinnin'2000: The Ultimate Guide to Fun and Profit as a Mobile DJ. Today it is in its third edition and is the #1 selling book for DJs in North America. He has also written another book with Ron Finley, a professional and acoustic engineer, which is a home study type book for DJs.

Today Hampson is President of the Canadian Online Disc Jockey Association (CODJA), a new Internet association for DJs. He is also currently Exhibition Manager for Canadian Music Week. "It feels good to be in the middle of the music business again. Music Week has become another passion of mine."

Running Canadian Music Week has definitely challenged Hampson. "It's really hard work, but it's good work." He really enjoys the opportunity it gives him to work not only with the trade, but with the young people getting into the business. "I get enthusiasm from them, it restores the enthusiasm and the magic is back. When you have been in the business for as many years as I have sometimes the magic wears off, but the music business regenerates itself."

He presently lives in Pickering, ON with his wife of 31 years, Lindy. They have a 28-year-old son, Jeff who is studying to be a lawyer. Hampson is proud of his son who has a degree from the University of Western Ontario and is presently at the University of Toronto. Lindy is a program coordinator for Pine Trees Senior Centre, "that's her passion, she loves working with seniors and developing programs for them."

One of his hobbies is playing golf. He loves the sport and feels, "I'm not a very good golfer but I am an enthusiastic golfer."

Passion has helped make Hampson successful and he feels it is very important. "I really believe you have to be all you can be. I really believe you have to try something and if you don't succeed, then try it again. You have to believe in yourself and say this is what I want to do and then go for it. I always believe there's better days, and there's always something new to try." He is always available to help others and "that's why I feel good when I go to bed at night. I don't make a lot of money, but I still sleep good because I feel like I've done something."

Tracey Allison is Editorial Assistant for Professional Sound.




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