Rick Hiduk, also known as DJ Retro Rick, is ready to rock your summer parties, including wedding receptions, family and class reunions, and graduation parties.
Around the age of 10, Rick Hiduk came home from a yard sale one day with about a dozen 45s hooked on his thumb. They were a mixture of rock, pop, country and easy listening songs that stretched back to the 1950s. At about the same time, he became an ardent fan of Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 and wouldn’t miss a Saturday morning episode of American Bandstand.
After more than four decades of conducting music research, hosting radio shows, high school dances, nightclub and bar gigs, promotional events and private parties, Rick is still fascinated with the process of getting people to the dance floor and maintaining that momentum for the course of an event. But it’s the private parties that have become his favorite way to share his love of recorded music.
“Working with a family or committee to develop a format that leads to a very personalized production is so rewarding,” Rick stated. “By walking through as many of the variables as possible in advance, I know when to be flexible and when to stay on course.”
Rick scripted programs for oldies shows and did voice-overs for commercials in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market for many years and moved on to develop full-scale radio promotions in the Williamsport market before returning to the Wilkes-Barre area to produce TV commercials. Whatever media work he was involved in at the time, Rick always maintained a sound system so that he could pick up gigs on the side.
“I felt the need to be out somewhere every weekend, grabbing people’s ears with my crazy mix of the latest hits and gems as far back as the ’50s and ’60s that people had forgotten,” Rick remarked, noting that the nickname “Retro Rick” stems from his expertise on oldies. “It might have seemed to some that I was pulling songs out of my hat, but enough people always realized the method to my madness and complimented me for it.”
His preparation and showmanship garnered him a solid reputation and great following. His penchant for pulling together songs from such a variety of genres that span decades always thrilled the crowd, as did thought-provoking trivia. Since he climbed back into the DJ/MC ring a few years ago, Rick was quickly reminded that music is often not enough.
“In today’s minute-to-minute, second-to-second world, people can get bored with a DJ or a band pretty quickly if they don’t have a few tricks up their sleeves,” says Rick, who prepares trivia relevant to his audiences and employs hands-on games and fun contests to engage members of the audience. He also doesn’t shy away from belting out a few of his favorite classic hits if that’s what it takes to get a karaoke party underway.
Weddings of course require a different sort of precision, and Rick is up to the task. He communicates with the bride and groom (and parents too) from the moment of contact to the day before the event. The contract is designed to establish the tone for the event. After that comes the consultation by survey, then a meeting at the venue as early as possible. The song list is an evolving process that usually wraps up about a week before the wedding.
“It’s really important for me to visit the site where the wedding and reception will be held so that I can gauge the logistics such as acoustics, lighting, accessibility, and location of electrical outlets,” Rick explains. “Then we walk through as much of the program as we have developed to that point and work out more details. Everybody feels more relaxed about what’s going to happen on wedding day.”
Weddings have become more diversified over the last decade, and couples are opting for customized events that really speak of their personalities, lifestyles and dreams. Rick likes working with clients who already have ideas, and he can enhance any theme.
“2016 was the ‘Year of the Country Wedding’ for me,” Rick relates. “I saw high-end and low-end, and there were incredibly unique elements to each of them that I like to share with other couples.”
Keeping a summer party clean and family-friendly is also very important to Rick. “I already play the ‘clean’ versions of suggestive songs in bars,” he explains. “Once in a while, someone will notice and ask me ‘why?’ My answer is that I don’t use profanity and don’t see a need for it to have a good time. One of the most important discussions that I have with party planners is how heavily they want me to filter suggestive songs.”
Needless to say, there are only so many Saturdays in a year, and Rick has already started booking weddings for 2017. He is also looking to fill his schedule with graduation, anniversary and birthday parties; family and class reunions; and gigs at campgrounds and carnivals.
“I love family events and themes,” Rick remarks. “I like the cross-generational mix and getting young and old to appreciate each other’s music. I hope to provide them with memories and instill make classic songs part of their family’s heritage.”
For booking information, Rick Hiduk can be reached at 570-833-8056 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.