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Meet Chicago's First Disc Jockey - DePaul Alumna Halloween Martin

1938 DePaulia Headline
A 1938 DePaulia article profiled DePaul alumna and Chicago's first disc jockey, Halloween Martin. (Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives)

This article is part of DePaul's 125th anniversary series, commemorating more than a century of engaging, diverse and global learning, service to the community, outstanding athletes, groundbreaking leaders and a strong commitment to the university’s Vincentian mission.  

“It's 6 o'clock on this rainy Chicago morning and you're listening to WBBM."  

Sound familiar?  

Morning radio follows a common formula, but it wasn't always that way. The early morning music and talk that helps Americans out of bed every day was largely developed in Chicago by a single broadcasting pioneer, DePaul alumna Halloween Martin.

Frequently credited as Chicago's first disc jockey, Martin hosted a morning radio program called Musical Clock from 1929 to 1946. At the time, Musical Clock was considered highly innovative. Martin helped Chicagoans wake up and prepare for the day with a selection of
Black and white profile photo of woman
Martin one year after graduating from DePaul. (Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives)
cheerful songs and announcements about the time and weather. She personally selected all of the music for the program and wrote her own script, developing a style so popular that it became the standard format for morning radio programs in the decades to follow. 

Though it sounds like a shrewd publicity move, Halloween Martin really was her real name. She was born on Oct. 31, 1900, and attended the DePaul High School for Girls before enrolling at DePaul.  She wrote for DePaul's student publication, The MiBlack and white profile photo of woman nerval, acted in several productions of the Wig and Mask drama club and even received “second honors" in the annual university-wide beauty contest.  After graduating in 1926, Martin wrote for the Chicago-Herald Examiner and hosted a radio program about interior design before her promotion to host of Musical Clock. 

Nearly a decade after her radio debut, a 1938 DePaulia feature summed up the popular opinion of Martin among Chicago radio fans, “Completely charming is the phrase that most suits Halloween Martin…she is regarded by CBS not merely as a woman announcer but a personality of the air."

So this Halloween and in honor of DePaul's 125th anniversary, take a moment to remember the birthday of a radio pioneer.

To learn more about DePaul's robust history and alumni, contact Special Collections and Archives at, and visit DePaul's 125th anniversary website. ​​