Kelsey Carlo, Contributing Writer
If you were to talk to Kyle Riecker three years ago, he would have told you that he was preparing to DJ a party that weekend. Much has changed since then. If you asked him about his weekends now he would tell you it is packed with creating memes, listening to vinyl and hanging out with his 3-year-old daughter Vivienne, who he says is the reason he gets out of bed every morning.
Kyle, standing 6-feet-tall, grew up in Poland, New York. He has pale skin, blue eyes, light brown hair and a goatee. He has two half siblings that have always lived in California so he considers himself an only child. As a kid, he traveled a lot on the east coast because his mother was a reading teacher and had summers off. Traveling became his favorite memory of his childhood. One of his favorite memories was being able to hike the Great Smoky Mountains on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
After high school, he continued his education at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in 2001 in Utica for two years. He studied Fine Arts. He did not receive a degree from there, but art is still something he is passionate about and makes work such as collages and Internet memes. He describes his work as surrealistic or futuristic.
When his two years at Proctor Arts Institute were done, he realized he had a love for music more than art. That’s when he left home to attend Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida in 2003 to study recording arts. He only attended Full Sail for less than a year, leaving with no degree. He described it as the “typical college days.” He said he didn’t take his academics seriously.
“I would just go to the beach all the time in Miami because it was close and I would just party all the time and not go to class as often as I should have,” Riecker said.
When he came back from Florida, he worked jobs such in Stewart’s and a movie theater. Four years later, in 2008, he took a full-time position at Utica College. He is now an Administrative Assistant in the Office of Educator Preparation and Psychology-Child Life. His job entails general office work, answering phone calls, helping student teachers with internet placement, data assessment, tracking student information, customer service and helping students become certified teachers.
Although his work may follow him home, whether it is him thinking of things he could have done better or getting emails (UC email hooked up to his cellphone), he still loves his job.
“My favorite part of my job is being able to help students, especially when they are in a pickle and think that they are in trouble. Being there to help them and offer them guidance is very rewarding for me,” Riecker said.
While working full-time at Utica College, Kyle takes journalism and public relations classes to earn his degree in Public Relations. His interest is in journalism, so he wants to pursue a minor in it. With the Public Relations degree, he would be more than happy to continue his career at Utica College but a long-term goal and aspiration of his is to work for Public Broadcasting. Kyle is not only an employee and a student on campus, but he is also involved with the Tangerine newspaper as well as the radio station WPNR. Kyle is the person who designed the newspaper the students read.
“In short, I am the one who puts the whole paper together after the stories are submitted. Writers give me their stories and pictures, and I lay out the whole paper to be sent to printing,” Riecker said.
Kyle hosts his own show on WPNR every Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. called Club 907. Doug Croft, the man in charge of the radio station, wanted the station to incorporate dance and house music. Since that is Kyle’s area of interest, Doug and Kyle talked over a drink at a Christmas party and he has been hosting his own show for about five years.
On his radio show in 2014, he had the ability to interview one of his favorite producers at the time, DJ Opiuo, who is from New Zealand. This was exciting for Kyle because New Zealand is also his dream place to visit. He was also very nervous because the interview was live over the phone and it was the first phone interview he has ever done.
“I liked DJ Opiuo because the sound he had was funky,” Riecker said. “It was really good. I am not so much into him anymore because he changed more into electronic dance music. Sometimes I see him post on social media and I say to myself, where did your funk go?”
Another thing about Kyle is that he is one of the people who introduced the Zombie Walk to Utica. The Zombie Walk is something that was started in Toronto and other larger cities, and it is an organized public gathering of people who are dressed up in zombie costumes and makeup. It began in Utica in 2009 and was held every October in affiliation with the Stanley Theater. Kyle was the main organizer.
“We stopped doing the Utica Zombie Walk in 2015 after seven years. I do have some plans for a ten-year anniversary walk, which will be held near Oneida Square in Utica. That will take place in October 2019,” Riecker said.