There’s a new polka show in cyberspace. The Danny Zapletal Czech Polka Hour premiered a couple of weeks ago on WRJQradio.com. The show originates in Ennis on a station based in Wisconsin and anybody in the world can listen to it. Isn’t the Internet great! The show runs from 1 to 2 PM every Saturday.
Danny, the bandleader of Czech and Then Some, approached WRJQ about doing a program that showcased Texas polka bands. “I have always wanted to do a polka show so I e-mailed the station’s owner. He was excited about it,” Danny says.
If anyone knows Texas polka bands, it’s Danny. Before he and brother-in-law David Slovak founded CATS 13 years ago, he played with Harry Czarnek and the Texas Dutchmen. His dad, Raymond, had his own band called the Music Masters, then played for Harry and the Dutchmen until he retired in 1994. Danny’s dad was also one of the founders of the National Polka Festival in Ennis, now going on its 45th year. Danny has served as director of the festival for the past 20 years.
“I think the show is a good fit for the Wisconsin and Midwest listeners,” he says. “There are a lot of good bands in Texas and I want to get that across to them.” Danny says Wisconsin polka has a similar tempo to Texas, which is faster than polka in much of the Midwest. “Their polka culture is dying out. They don’t understand how we get young people involved,” he says. That sleepy, slow tempo could have something to do with it.
Danny enjoys doing the radio show and since he only has an hour keeps the chat to a minimum. He manages to play 18 songs in an hour, most by Texas bands with some Midwest bands mixed in. After all, he grew up listening to Ernie Kucera from Nebraska!
“I just enjoy the music so much,” Danny says. “Whenever I have a bad day I put on some polka music.” Who does he listen to? The playlist could include Ernie Kucera, Harry Czarnek, Six Fat Dutchmen, Dujka Brothers, Czechaholics, Hi Toppers and the Johnny Mensik band. That has the makings of a good radio show!