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Radio DJ Hoeden proud to be a geek

DJ Andre Hoeden taught himself "shutter speed" and other camera lingo from the Internet.
DJ Andre Hoeden taught himself "shutter speed" and other camera lingo from the Internet.ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO

Nikon fanboy loves music and was an avid gamer before he became a dad

Andre Hoeden knew exactly what his second son would look like, and even knew his name, years before the boy was even born.

"Matthew came to me in my dreams when my wife was pregnant. I saw a small blond boy.

"When I called out to him and asked him for his name, he replied that he was Matthew," said the radio DJ.

So it was a surprise when his firstborn turned out to be a beautiful brunette girl, whom his wife named Sarah.

He wanted to name her Leah, but his wife insisted on Sarah, which in Hebrew means "princess".

TECH KNOWLEDGE

After I read it, I learn all of the latest stuff and then I can pretend like I know everything.

ANDRE HOEDEN, a regular reader of Digital Life, who now gets his geek fix every week from reading the new ST Digital

When his wife was pregnant with their second child three years later, he said he knew deep inside that the child would be a blond boy and that his name would already have been decided.

Today, Hoeden, 40, is a proud father of three - Sarah, six; Matthew, three; and Russell, seven months - and a central figure in SPH's One FM radio station.

He and veterans Glenn Ong and Mark van Cuylenburg are the stars of One FM's brand-new #l Breakfast Show, the morning show aimed at guys in their prime.

Hoeden's radio DJ career has come a long way since 2005 when he did weekly cameos with Class 95 radio station, voicing pretend characters with funny personalities.

A business graduate of Curtin University in Australia, he worked in sales and marketing jobs when he returned to Singapore.

He started off with a TV production company, went into selling smart surveillance cameras for detecting unattended baggage, and dabbled in event management.

When his childhood buddy Rod Monteiro - then at Class 95 - asked him to help with voice-overs, he agreed, just for the fun of it.

And then Monteiro suggested they start their own radio company. Said Hoeden: "I never take Rod seriously. So when he proposed the new gig, I thought he was kidding. When it was clear that he wasn't, it sounded really bizarre but, in the end, I decided to go for it because of Rod's confidence in me and, well, just for the fun of it."

And that was how the pair teamed up with radio producer Clarence Edwin and created the first independent radio company in Singapore.

They called the company Married Men and made their debut in 2007 as the evening show on SPH's 91.3 radio station.

Since then, Hoeden has been a regular on the airwaves, though he took a break from 2013 until he returned this February.

The zany character, whose family name (pronounced Hoo-den) means hat in Dutch, is often caught wearing one.

Though he hangs out with friends who all smoke and drink copiously, he said he has never picked up the puffing habit and drinks only moderately on social occasions. "My vices are music and figurines from Star Wars and GI Joe," he said.

At 18, just before he started national service, he met his wife-to-be at the then Fire disco. She was sitting quietly by herself and caught his eye immediately. When he saw her speaking to a mutual acquaintance, he joined the conversation.

Soon, they were slow-dancing to Journey's hit ballad Faithfully. There was another dancer on the floor - a girl who looked like a guy. Hoeden made a bet with his dance partner on the real gender of the person.

"If I win, I get to take you out.

If you win, you get to take me out," he recalled telling her.

He lost the bet - on purpose, he claimed - and the next day, she bought tickets for a movie, Much Ado About Nothing.

"I recall there were plenty of half-naked girls running around in the show, but I was not really paying attention because I was looking at my date half the time," he said. But it was 11 years before they wed.

There is plenty of geek in Hoeden. The Nikon D7000 fanboy taught himself "shutter speed", "f-stops" and other camera lingo from YouTube videos and the Internet.

Typically, he spends more time shooting his family members than himself, which explains why he rarely appears in his vast trove of family photos.

He also loves music, and has a $10,000 Denon amplifier and Fischer speakers at home.

An avid gamer before he became a father, he now has time only for Dance Central and other Kinect games with his kids.

A regular reader of Digital Life, he gets his geek fix every week from reading the new ST Digital.

He said: "After I read it, I learn all of the latest stuff and then I can pretend like I know everything.

"That is why I decided to take it one step further and invited the team to the show."

ST Digital deputy editor Sherwin Loh has been a regular guest on the morning show in recent months.

As for lucky colours, Hoeden said he was told many years ago by a Chinese geomancer that he had too much of earth, water and metal elements in him, and too little fire. That is why he always wears some red, adding fire to his life.

It explains why he has a pair of red Audio-Technica headphones, a red iPhone case and even a red car. Some part of his clothing will always be in red.

"If, for some reason, I cannot wear any red for the occasion, I put on my favourite underwear. And yes, it is red," he quipped.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2015, with the headline 'Radio DJ Hoeden proud to be a geek'. Print Edition | Subscribe