National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum

605 East 222nd Street
Euclid, OH 44123

USA

 

E-mail: Polkashop@aol.com

Phone: 216-261-3263

Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA

Fax: 216-261-4134

 

Tony Petkovsek, Cleveland's Polka Ambassador, differs in one important respect from the many lifelong contributors to Cleveland-Style Polkas. Tony has promoted Cleveland-Slovenian music and culture full-time his entire adult life. Hosting the longest running daily polka show in America, Tony has been a vital force in the Slovenian community.

Tony grew up in Cleveland's St. Clair neighborhood in typical second generation Slovenian style, complete with accordion lessons and plenty of exposure to Slovenian culture. Tony's parents, Tony Sr. and Mary, an alumna of the Zarja Singing Society, were the proprietors of the neighborhood's Birch Bar.

 

After time in college and broadcasting school, Tony made reality of the childhood dreams he conjured listening to famous polka DJ Kenny Bass, Bill Randle, and his mentor, Heinie Martin Antoncic, the Dean of Slovenian Broadcasters. Tony began producing and broadcasting his own radio shows on November 23, 1961-- Thanksgiving Day --on WXEN, Cleveland's "Station of the Nations." The rest is history.

 

Going to daily broadcasts in 1962, Tony became a continuous beacon over stations WXEN, WZAK, NBN, WCPN, and WELW, along the way interviewing the likes of "Chip" Carter, Roger Mudd, Lawrence Welk, Wayne Newton, and Charles Kuralt and sharing an audience with President George Bush.

 

Tony has been one of the most creative promoters of Cleveland-Style Polkas ever. In 1967, Tony originated the Polka Tour at Kollander World Travel, Inc., which has since taken thousands of polka fans to every corner of the globe. Tony's anniversary celebrations have evolved from a dance in 1963 into the national focal point of Cleveland-Style Polkas. Each year, thousands of polka fans from all over America converge on Cleveland to take in the many activities that encompass Thanksgiving weekend. And, for twenty years, Tony's Polka Village was a unique and innovative combination broadcast studio, polka record/gift shop, button box academy, and nerve center for Cleveland's Slovenian Community.

 

Devoted to the community, Tony played seminal roles in founding the United Slovenian Society, the Cleveland-Slovenian Radio Club (raising in excess of $250,000 for charitable purposes), the East 185th Street Business Association (sponsors of the "Old World Festival," one of the largest ethnic street festivals anywhere), and, of course, the American Slovenian Polka Foundation, proud sponsors of the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame. In addition, Tony has served on the Ohio Arts Council, the appointee of Governor George Voinovich.

 

Tony was selected the Federation of Slovenian Homes’ "Man of the Year" in 1966; was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1991 and the St. Joseph High School Hall of Fame in 1987; and has been commended over a hundred times for his many accomplishments and contributions.

 

Inducted in 1992

National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame

 

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

 

TONY PETKOVSEK

 

1941

 

 

www.polkafame.com  © National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum, 605 East 222nd Street, Euclid, OH 44123, USA.

 

 

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