St. Louis’ Most Trusted DJ & Entertainment Professionals When you choose TKO DJs, you can expect a premium level of service. Because we have a full time office staff, there will be a real person to answer your questions. You are always welcome to discuss your event with one of our event planners, who can assist you in all aspects of coordinating your event. On the day of your event, we have a manager on duty 24 hours a day, to make sure that everything is perfect.
TKO has been entertaining at all types of events since 1984. All of our disc jockeys are experienced entertainers who will have your guests dancing and having a great time. We are experts in all of the formalities of coordinating a variety of events. We will assist you throughout the evening to make sure everything is running smoothly.
TKO DJs will always project a professional image. All of our DJs are courteous, well groomed, and well dressed. We will always arrive at your event with plenty of time to have all of the equipment set up long before your guests arrive.
All of our systems feature the latest in professional sound equipment, and come neatly enclosed in custom cases, hiding unsightly wires. All of our systems have backup equipment, and a manager is always available to correct any unforeseeable problems.
TKO DJs History
TKO DJs was founded by Matthew G. Williams on September 6, 1984, with a $2,500.00 loan. The company was initially more of a hobby than a real job. However, TKO quickly performed above expectations. The initial loan, which was due two years after the opening of the company, was paid off one year and one day after TKO’s first event. We added a second system in February of 1986. By the time that Williams graduated from high school in 1987, TKO was booking two systems on most weekend nights. The company had no debt, and Williams had saved enough to buy a third system outright.
Once he had graduated from Chaminade in May 1987, Williams hired a general manager to run TKO so that he could pursue a broadcasting degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. However, the manager was unable to guarantee the success of every event, as TKO had previously done. Soon Williams was running TKO from his dorm room in Cincinnati, returning to St. Louis every weekend.
When Williams returned to St. Louis in May of 1988, we added another system. Seven months later, in January of 1989, we opened the first branch office in Lawrence, Kansas: TKO-West. We formed a partnership with two of TKO’s best employees, both of who were attending the University of Kansas. This venture was profitable when in operation, but only had an eight-month annual market. In the long run, the branch office just broke even. Williams closed the branch office in June of 1989 and concentrated his efforts on the St. Louis market.
In August of 1989, TKO purchased its first commercial space on Manchester Road. The gray, single story stone building at 7717 Manchester was approximately 2000 square feet and also had a detached garage. TKO operated out of the building until September 1996 when it sold the building. The building no longer stands and today it is the site of Aldi Grocery Store.
TKO further fortified their sound and light systems to better handle all the large high school venues. We began a regular program of DJ meetings and enrichment programs. The efforts were fruitful. By the end of the year, TKO performed for almost fifty percent of all the functions of the approximately one hundred and fifty St. Louis area high schools and junior high schools.
A major contribution to TKO’s success in this market segment is our ability to become the number one choice of the students, and at the same time keep the administration satisfied. By taking an active role to involve all the students at the dances, the guests had a fantastic time, and spend less time being destructive. Although our rates were often higher than our competitors’, a repeat customer could bring in more money for their event by hiring TKO DJs. Attendance would be higher due to the large followings we would acquire from previous dances. TKO established a reputation that everyone would have a good time when TKO performed.
In 1991, Williams founded a new company, Alobar’s, Inc., which sold and rented DJ equipment to other mobile DJs as well as nightclubs, theatres and other applications. The presence of this company allowed TKO better access to new equipment and allowed TKO customers to benefit from the Lighting Showroom and extensive rental inventory of special effects.
The Small Business Development Center and the Jefferson Smurfit Center for Entrepreneurial Studies awarded Williams the Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year Award in May of 1992.
June of 1992 marked the addition of two more full time employees. TKO hired a general manager and an in-house bookkeeper (in conjunction with Alobar’s). They added another complete system, and in January of 1993 they upgraded a backup system into full system status. At this point, TKO had seven identical systems. One month later, we bought a Karaoke system to address the market’s demand for this service. In August of 1993, we hired another full-time person to handle marketing, DJ training, and scheduling.
In early 1994, TKO began to aggressively market itself towards the wedding market. They introduced the Standard Package; a setup that was more compact and better suited for smaller venues and the different requirements of a wedding reception. Beginning with two, the new systems were an instant success, and in October they constructed a third small system.
Williams received the Small Business Administration (SBA) 1994 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
1995 saw many changes for TKO as they continued to grow tremendously. TKO completely rebuilt all of the DJ systems with all new components and converted to an all-CD format, optimizing sound quality. At that time TKO had 15 systems: 7 identical deluxe systems and 8 identical standard systems. Wedding receptions soon became as large of our market share as our high school functions.
In 1996, TKO was featured in 2 nationally recognized magazines associated with the disc jockey industry: DJ Times (March ’96) and Mobile Beat (July ’96).
In September of 1996, TKO moved to temporary space on Laclede Station Road while our offices were being re-modeled. In February 1997, TKO moved its business office to 7411 Manchester road and began construction of a new warehouse at 7458 Manchester. For the first time, the business office and equipment location/weekend operations were in two different locations.
In the summer of 1997, TKO moved into its new custom-built warehouse at 7458 Manchester. However, by February 1999, it became clear that it made more sense to be under one roof and the business office was moved across the street to 7458 Manchester Road behind the St. Louis Closet Co. building.
In 1998, Williams was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
During the fall of 1999, TKO introduced an all DVD format for their Music Video Shows. A popular alternative to a basic DJ set up, the DVD videos allowed DJs to play a continuous video format that was all digital. Show totals for 1999 reached over 1400 events.
In 2004 TKO DJs outgrew the space behind the Closet Co. and moved a few doors down to a larger space with two garage bays at 7434 Manchester Rd.
Through the downturn of 2008 TKO DJs remained strong with the long list of repeat customers that it had built up through 24 years in business. Not one person was laid off and this was a testament to how strong TKO had become.
The final move to TKO’s current location at 2650 South Big Bend came in November of 2013. After many other successful ventures Matt Williams decided to consolidate once again and this time move all of his business under one roof including by this time a successful real estate venture, and his wife’s wildly successful St. Louis Closet Company.
TKO currently performs for 1000-1500 events annually with approximately 1/3 of the business coming from weddings, 1/3 schools, and 1/3 from other events including private parties and corporate functions. With over 50 full and part time disc jockeys on our staff and five full time office and operational staff, TKO is the most versatile entertainment company in the St. Louis area.
We recently have been awarded as the best DJ in St. Louis by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, St. Louis Best Bridal, Knot Best of Weddings, Knot Hall of Fame, WeddingWire Couples Choice Award, and nominated for recognition by the St. Louis Wedding Awards, Perfect Wedding Guide and St. Louis Bride Magazine.