(Frequently Asked Questions - Or What you'd like to ask, but might be afraid to ask.)
No doubt, if your hiring a D.J. for your occasion, you may have questions you'd like to ask them. Here are the things that our clients seem to ask most often.
About Radio Record Hop
Before booking, these are things to know
At the Dance
Q: Why did you pick that name?
A: We both have an education and experience in broadcasting. We wanted a name the reflected that experience as well as recalling memories of the good-old-days of the school Sock Hop.
Q: Do you carry any sort of certifications for working school dances?
A: Ernie and Tim have both taken and passed the Boy Scouts of America Youth Protection Training and are certified by the BSA.
Q:How do I contact you.
A:You can call us at 262-785-0639 or email to Ernie@radiorecordhop.com
Q:What do I get for my money?
A:The standard 4 hour fee covers; Two professional, experienced Disc Jockeys outfitted in black tuxedo with red accessories or other appropriate attire, a full array of equipment setup, take down and travel.
Q:How much does it cost for 4 hours.
A:Part of our cost estimate is based on the location for the event. Please call or e-mail with your location information. We can then give you a quote.
Q:Will you play for less then 4 hours?
A:Yes, please call or write for a quotation.
Q:Are you available?
A:We both are married, sorry.Oh, I see, you want to know if we can play for your occasion? Check the Dance dates page for the dates we are currently booked.
Q: When is the deposit due?
A: We require the deposit to secure your dance date, so please send us that as soon as you can to assure you are locked in for the date.
Q: What happens if I cancel?
A: If you cancel, we retain the depot you have sent us. We had to keep that date reserved for you and others may have been interested in it. If you rebook with us, we will require another deposit and apply both to your total payment for the dance.
Q: When is the total payment due?
A: The full amount for your dance is payable before we begin to play at your event.
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Q:What do I get for my money?
A:The standard 4 hour fee covers; Two professional, experienced Disc Jockeys outfitted in black tuxedo vests with red accessories or other appropriate attire, a full array of equipment setup, take down and travel.
Q:How much does it cost for 4 hours.
A:Part of our cost estimate is based on the location for the event. Please call or e-mail with your location information. We can then give you a quote.
Q:Will you play longer then the contracted time?
A:Yes, at a moments notice we will play beyond the time allotted. In most cases, there is no limit to how much longer. However, limits may be placed by the hall manager, local ordinances, or in the case of an afternoon event, another booking we must fulfill. There is an extra charge for this extra time, please call or e-mail for more information.
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Q:Do you take breaks during your performance?
A:We keep the music playing and take individual breaks as needed. At any time, one of us is at the stand playing music and tending to the dance.
Q: What do you wear for playing at a dance?
A: We wear an identical outfit of white tuxedo shirt, tuxedo pants, black tuxedo vest and a red tie.
Q:What if a tuxedo is too formal for our occasion? (A grand opening, casual wedding, birthday party etc.)
A:We can wear other official "Radio Record Hop" attire. We have several colors of a business casual shirt we wear with appropriate pants and shoes. (Very preppy looking, and very classy.)
Q:Our occasion is a costume party, will you dress up?
A:Yes! We'd love to. In the past we have played dressed as tramps, clowns, cowboys. Honestly, we like to fit in and be the life of the party, rather than be the party.
Q:I have a special song I'd like to hear, can you play it?
A:Yes. Our first attempt will be to check the music library of both Ernie and Tim, since both of us are collectors. If we have it, we will bring it along. If you have a copy of it on CD, thumb drive or other sound formats, simply bring it along to the event, we'll make sure we play it for you. If you have it on record, we'd like to get a hold of it prior to the event so we can move it to CD or convert it for our media player.
Q:Why should I hire a D.J. and not a band?
A:Think of it this way: What do you prefer to hear? A bands interpretation of "How will I know?", "Proud Mary", "Blue Moon", "Harbor Lights" or the original of each of these? That's how you know what you want. Do you have a large enough hall to take the volume of a band?
Q:We have a set of music we would like you to play. Can you?
Q: We would like to designate all the music you play for the evening. Would you do that... would you charge us less for the evening?
Q: We have a lot of music we want to hear that evening, perhaps something we'd burn for you on 4 or 5 CD's. Can you play from them?
A: We grouped these three questions together because they all address the same basic situation. We are always happy when our client has some music they would like included in the evening. We simply request that you bring it with you to the dance, and mark your CD's so you can retrieve them later. If you have a special track on them you'd like played, mark that for us as well. We will be happy to play them during the dance.
Now, lets talk about 'some'. Keeping it to a few songs is best, perhaps less than 10, so we can select from our wide variety library of music to make your event a success. On average, we play about 20 songs per hour. If you require 10 not on our play list, that is 1/2 hour of music.
Before we begin playing, we place request cards and pencils at each table. We let your guests know that they can use them to tell us what they would like to hear. Believe us when we tell you we are flooded with requests every time. On average, before we play the first song of the evening we have 20 requests... music your guests want to hear. Let me repeat that.. Music Your Guests Want To Hear. On average we see about 100 requests in an evening And we play every request we can fit into the time. We have written software to help us do this. We are sure, and you are always sure that your guests will have a great time, dancing to the music they want.
As far as programming the entire evening of music, we have to ask; why hire us at all? When you hire us as your D.J. we hope you are hiring us with total confidence that we know how to make a party work, and tailor the music to what is working with the crowd. In the 20 + years we have been doing this, we have never played the same music in the same order for any two dances... even when we played two in one day.
Each dance requires a unique and careful section. If you pre-program the music, you limit the opportunity to change the music to match your crowd. We have played under these conditions and quite frankly, it was awful for everyone. The crowd was not happy, and at a later point the groom, who had set all of this up, said "Go ahead, play what ever they want, no one is having fun."
You don't need to spend you time working on the music. That is why you hire us. And we take great pride in delivering a high quality selection of music that fits the mood and gives everyone a good time!
Q: Do you play loudly?
A:Well, there was the time the cops told us... actually, we can play loud, but we don't have to. Our equipment is such that is sounds great at low volume as well as loud. We play what's right for the moment. Including playing out doors. Back to the story... it seems the monks at Holy Hill in Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine found a problem with "Lets talk about Sex" playing at high volume a mile away down the valley from them during Mass, so they called the cops. We cooperated and turn it down to a level the officer found acceptable.
During the average dance we monitor the levels that we play it by both the output of the amplifier and a sound meter that we check the room with.
Our objective is to play at a level that lets guests who want to dance enjoy it (we all seem to feel more of the music at a higher volume) and yet let guests who want to hold a conversation do so. We do not set out to 'blow the room away' with volume. Our equipment is of such quality that we do not need to play loudly to have it sound great!
Q:Do you take requests?
A:Yes! Requests are a real help to us. We also put out request cards on each table for guests to write requests on and hand them to us. They may also just come up and ask us. Requests help us assure you that your guests are having a great time, dancing to music they want to hear.
Q:I have sponsors for our picnic, will you mention them?
A:Yes. We are trained and experienced in reading commercials or working someone's name into a occasion.
Q:I plan to have stripper show up. Will you help that person by playing their music or any other assistance they need?
A:Yes, we are quite used to this bit of prankstership. The success of any dance we play is measured by how much fun the group had. Usually this is part of a good time. Just, maybe having one show up at a wedding might not be a good idea. (Next on Springer; "A stripper ruined our wedding day.") We will be happy to play any music or help in any other way that makes the party a success.
Q:I have a surprise birthday party planned. Will they see your truck before the party?
A:We drive a non-descript vehicle to all of our dances and we are very good at keeping secrets.
Q:You keep referring to my party as a dance. Why?
A:We always do that out of habit. The music is the center of the show and we carry a hope that people will dance at every show. So, we call them dances.
Q:How good are you guys? Really?
A:When Mike Jarvis, of Platter Chatter, another fine D.J. show was looking for a D.J. for his wedding, he hired us. Would a D.J. hire any one he didn't think would do a good show.
Q:Are there any types of music you don't have?
A:Our collection of music is wide in scope, but we don't have any so-called 'Gang-banger' or harder type Rap. We also do not carry with us any classical as regular dance music. It's hard to dance to all but a fine Strauss Waltz.
Q:Do you 'scratch' or do beat matching?
A:Scratching, (manually repeating a portion of a piece of music on a turntable in rhythm) is a talent we do not have. We've never run into a situation where it would have worked anyway. It would be fun to learn and we've seen it at DJ conferences, it is fascinating. We play in sets of music that flow together well, but we are not aiming for a 'club mix', nor do we adjust the speed of music to get it to match. This is best done in club situations. Again, we've never had a call for it. Your Grandma might not enjoy this at her 100th birthday party.
Q:Is there any type of dance you won't play for or haven't yet?
A:We don't have any type of list of a party we would not play for, so the answer is no. As far as one we haven't played yet, it would have to be a dance marathon, a civil-war re-creation dance or someone's 100 birthday.
Q:Have you ever missed (didn't show to play) a dance?
A:In our over 20 years of playing for dances, we have never missed a show. Blizzards, stalled cars, sprained ankles, walking phenomena, nothing has stopped us from making a show date.
Q:Do you carry any type of backup equipment?
A:We carry a backup amplifier and other assorted equipment that assures we can continue to play ever after a breakdown. We have had only one major equipment failure, an amplifier started buzzing. We stopped for about 3 minutes to install the replacement and off we went. Minor things such as burned out light bulbs are not showstoppers.
Q:We have two locations to chose from for the location of the DJ in the hall. One is right next to the dance floor, but close to exit doors, the other is in the corner about 15-25 feet from the dance floor. Which place would you prefer we situate you?
A:Being close to the dance floor is most important. More then once, we have played where the layout of the room was such that we were in a corner far away from the dance floor. In all cases, the result was the same; the dance we over before the allotted time because people had left. It seems, and this in only a guess, that if the DJ is not right at the floor, it becomes similar to having a radio playing for the entertainment. To make the most of your money, put your DJ right next to the dance floor.
If you'd like us to consult on the ideal location for our stand and the space needed, please call. We'd be happy to come out the hall and review the situation with you.
Q:How much floor space do you need?
We require a space that is 6 foot x 12 plus a location on each side of that for speaker stands. These require a 3 foot by 3 foot area. Think about the footprint of a mini van. That's the space we need. We have tried to squeeze into smaller spaces, but we can't fit the equipment and ourselves in any place less than that.
Q:We'd like to meet the two of you in person prior to the dance, but we can't make it to see your show. Is there a way we can meet you?
A:We are very willing to arrange such a meeting with you. Actually, we really enjoy it.
Q:The hall has steps that your equipment needs navigate. Is that a problem?
A:We learned early on that dance halls are not always ideas places to move equipment to. So, our system is designed to allow us to play any place there is room for us. Once we played in an attic. No problem.
Q:How much time do you need to set up your equipment and for taking it down again after the dance?
A: We need, at minimum 1 and 1/2 hours to set up our equipment and that same amount for take down after the dance.
When possible we are prefer to setup during the day prior to the dance rather than while your party goers are in the hall. (It is easier to haul our equipment in that way rather than disturb folks standing or sitting in the way of the path we need.)
Regarding take down, we understand how it is for Hall Managers and employees at the end of the night; they want to get home or the owners would rather not pay them to stand around watching us pack. We ask you to check with them to be sure they understand that we will be there for an 1 1/2 hours after the dance ends. If they need to get employees out of the building or off shift earlier, we may wish to shift the end time for the dance. We really can't work any faster at packing than we do.
Q:Will you perform with you and your equipment behind a curtain. Basically, if anyone notices you are there, you have not done your job right?
A:We could easily play in this situation, but the question is... Why hire us? We would happily create a party tape set tailored to your needs that you could play and return to us.
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QDoes your dance length time (4 hours for example) include setup?
A:The dance length is the time we are actually dance playing music. If we contract for 4 hours, we would for example, start playing at 8:00 and end at 12:00. Set up and take down are not in that time, and you are not charged any additional fee for that.
QWe'd like to have some music played during dinner. Can you do that and what types of music do you play.
A:We can at a small additional charge over the usual dance fees. The music we normally bring to play at dinner is a good mix of light jazz, vocal standards and new age music. However, if you have a special type of music you'd like played during this time, such as classical we are able to do that as well. Call for details.
Q: If I hire you for dinner music, do you expect to be fed?
A:We do not have any expectations in this regard. Most find that the usual and customary thing is to feed those who are working at your wedding such as the photographer etc. Simply let us know either way and we can bring something to eat or not. We appreciate if when we can eat at the event. It's challenging working on an empty stomach!
Q:We plan to have a video made of the wedding. Any problems with that?
A:No, we don't mind at all. Typically, our advise on this matter is that you advise your videographer that there will be dance lighting used at the event, and that if they keep a bright light on the dance floor for any length of time it tends to dampen the spirit of the event. We have seen it where crowds come on the floor like crazy, the bright lights on the camera comes on and well, people go away. A good videographer with quality equipment can work with our lighting.
Q:Do you use fog?
A:We lightly fog the dance floor during a few times of a given dance, usually during slow songs. If requested by you, we will not use fog. We also comply with the requests of the hall manager if they request we do not fog. There are some rumors going around that DJ fog can cause an asthma attack. This is one of those myths that keeps coming up. Our fog is really a water based fine mist, and given how water does not have a negative effect on most anyone, there is no problem. The other myth is that we could set off a fire alarm. One would need to really fog heavily to do this. We do not fog like that at all. We only want to add a bit of atmosphere for slow songs and effect for our lights when we play more uptempo music.
Q:What type of music do you play and can I get a play list?
A:We bring a wide variety of music to every dance, and the list grows almost weekly. You can see it online or call us for a copy.
Q:I have a particular style of music I prefer not to hear. Will you refrain from playing it?
A:Yes, we will. But our advise in this matter is this: We typically solicit for requests. If one of your guests requests something of a style you do not want to hear, we will refer them to you for clearance, or check with you. Once that's taken care, we will play it. Remember, even your closest friend or boss may want to hear something you can't stand. You may just have to grin-and-bear it for the 3 to 4 minutes that it's played, just to keep the peace. (Or your job)
Q:I'd like to sing during the dance. Is that OK?
A:Lots of people sing at our dances. We play music they like and know and while they are dancing we can see they are... oh, you mean, Sing! As in, play music, hand you a microphone and you sing? Sure, that's no problem. In fact, if you have a sing along tape we will play it. One time, a group wanted to sing and cheer with the UWM Fightsong. No problem!
Q:Do you treat the dance floor with any 'dancing salt'.
A:No, for two reasons. 1: Liability, 2: These days, it's not really needed.
Q:Do you play any music off of re-make type CD's. (Party hits CD's and the like)
A:We play the original artist and original release only. The only exception would be a cover. For example, both Creedence Clearwater Revival and Ike and Tina Turner released "Proud Mary". Both would be valid, though the CCR version is the first and the only one we carry with us as a regular item since it is a lot more danceable. However, if you have a non-charted remake you'd like us to play, simply supply us with it and we'll take it from there.
Q:We'd like to not have small children participate in the traditionals. Can this be done and how it is handled? Are you willing to set this limit?
A:Sure, this easy. We simply state that we are looking for single adults, those over 18 to participate. Some couples prefer to have only adults in order to avoid having an adult try to dance with a child at the end or children getting hurt in the mad dive for the tossed item. This is not an unusual request.
Q:We'd like to have a disco song used for our traditional dance. It that strange?
A:It would not be the first time we've seen this. It is your day. Never mind what others think, you need to do what makes the day special for you. Our job is to play what you'd like to hear, and music that enhances your day. The question that might come to mind is, for example, would Grandma be offended by it?
We have also had where someone wanted a piece of music played when they walk onto the floor, then switch to the dance music once they are there. It was a movie theme and it was enjoyed by the crowd. We are always happy to accommodate your needs in this matter.
Q:Have either of you sworn during a dance?
A:I think Tim said the word "Damn" during a class re-union some years ago. Which by today's radio standards is minor. He has vowed to and held to never saying it again. Otherwise, no. Our rule is that we would never say something that your grandmother would be offended by. Our experience in radio over the years has set in our minds that when we in front of a mic, we don't curse.
Q:How quiet can you play for a dance?
A: We can play our music very quietly. When we play dinner music for you and your guests, the volume is typically quiet, very much in the background. When we play for the dancing portion of an evening we prefer the volume to be a bit louder. How loud? Well, it depends on the size of the space in which we are playing. We gage it like this: once we begin playing, we'll walk around the room and determine if you can hear the music above the din of the conversations that are going on. If so, perfect. Or, do you have yell to hear one another? If yes, then the music is too loud. Likewise, if the folks on the floor are yelling for us to 'turn it up!' we will, and see how that goes over. Certainly we understand that some people have very sensitive hearing or are concerned about hearing loss. We do not usually play at "Concert Level" for long periods of time.
On the other side of the coin, we feel that there is a certain level of volume that we need to maintain in order for the music to have any impact and cause some sense of excitement. For example, if your sitting at your desk and the song "How will I know" comes on your radio or the intercom, you may softly sing along, but you really have no feeling of wanting to dance, do you? No, go home, turn on that same piece of music, just a bit louder, about the level of a conversation is good. (65 db actually). You would notice that you'll have more interest in dancing.
That's how we judge how loud to play our music. Loud enough to kick on the 'I wanna dance' feeling, but not too much. And although we play music for people to dance to, we are sensitive to the fact that a number of people are interested in visiting with each other. It's important that we're considerate to both groups.
Q: Our dance is for teenagers and perhaps younger. We'd like to make sure the kids are not 'grinding' or the like. Can you watch for that and not play anything they would do that with?
A: Well, two parts to this answer. First off, keep in mind, we play a very clean show. We edit songs to remove anything that would put them at anything other than a "G" rating. As far as what will kids do as motions to any given song, well, honestly, that's anyones' guess. We are really too busy plotting what to play next or a few songs down the line and keeping the dancing going to be able to chaperone the dance floor. While we understand your concerns, we suggest that perhaps someone from your group is present to watch the floor. You can take it from there.
Q: I notice the two of you huddled over a computer sometimes and that there is an additional notebook and monitor near your lighting controls. What is that about?
A: We are often seen conferring during a dance about what to play next or what the next set of music should be. We enjoy being able to work together to make decisions, and the results are that we keep a dance floor full as much of the night as we can. Like the old saying goes;" Two heads are better than one."
The notebook on the stand is our main "On Air Computer". This is where you are hearing the music playing from. We use software to line up the music and keep it playing. It allows us to view the progress of the song and at times will flash to alert us that a song is about to end. It will also flash on the screen at the 'intro' to the song is about to end so we don't talk over the singing. Being "Old Radio Guys" we have always felt it was important to let the artist shine and get out of the way verbally. So, the software we use was selected in part because of this function.
The additional monitor near the lighting controls shows an exact duplicate of what is on the 'on-air' machine to give us a great view of the screen from both microphone positions.
The additional laptop holds a database of all of the over 2500 tracks in our regular Radio Record Hop Library, and an additional library of over 4000 tracks that we carry with us. This additional library has all top-40 hits from the 1950's to todays music, but we feel do not need to be in our traditional library. Chances are that we have something you want to hear.
Q: Are you prepared for an equipment 'emergency'?
A: The two most vulnerable pieces of equipment we have are the notebook we use 'On Air' that is playing the music and the amplifier.
As noted above, we have an additional amplifier we bring with us and can make a change over to in a few minutes as well as a notebook that is a mirror image of what is 'on the air'.
We also carry an additional mixer board that can be used in case of a failure.
In the many years we have been playing dances we have had
only one time where we had to excuse ourselves and stop playing for a moment
while we traded out amplifiers and then we started up. It was about 2 minutes at
If you have any questions you'd like to add to this list. Check out our Questions page.
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You can e-mail us by clicking here: Ernie Tim