Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dick Yash's Afternoon Polka Party!

Dick Yash is so obscure I barely know anything about him. I know his name from two lone print references. One is the back of a Joe Twarog Polkafest LP. The other is the book Polish Radio Broadcasting in the United States by Jozef Migala. The corroboration confirms for me that he was a real DJ, on 1500 WFIF-AM in Milford, CT. He was also involved in some polka fests as well including one in Danbury, CT.

WFIF-AM was a daytimer with it's studios in the Connecticut Post Shopping Center located at 1201 Boston Post Rd. (The original building no longer exists.) The AM studio had a big window facing the I-95 and had a speaker mounted outside so shoppers could hear them as they passed by.

It's three-tower transmitter site was located at the end of Kay Avenue. Around 1978 WFIF moved it's studios out of the strip mall to the to the transmitter site. Bill Blount bought the station in 1982 and he flipped the format to Christian Con. That held until about 2008 when they began to segue into Christian talk; still under his ownership. Blount Communications presently includes 1590 WARV-AM, 105.9 WBCI-FM, WDER-AM, 1230 WNEB-AM, and 760 WVNE-AM. All run christian programming of one flavor or another. 

WFIF signed on in 1965 under the ownership of Colonial Broadcasting. I looked them up in a few of the Broadcasting Yearbooks In 1965 they are listed as "not on air, target date unknown."  In 1966 they're described as "Spec Progs: Ital 1 hr; Pol 1 hr; Sp 2 hrs, C&W 5 hrs, Hebrew 1 hr, all wkly" I will venture a guess that the "Pol 1 hr" is Dick Yash. So Dick was on air at WFIF from the beginning.  In the 1960s and most of the 1970s WFIF programmed country music. They went Top-40 in the late 1970s. Those specialty shows were all on the weekends. The Sunday Afternoon Polka Party ran every Sunday from Noon to 2:00 PM. The program was still listed in 1975. After that the Broadcasting yearbook ceased to carry that type of data.

Unexpectedly the the book Polish Radio Broadcasting in the United States Had a different listing for Mr. Yash. It read: "Polka Time with Dick Yash"  broadcast every Sunday from 8 am to 9 am on WNHC, New Haven. The program consists of Polish folk music, polkas and waltzes. It is aired in English." But the book was published in 1987. I suspect that Yash moved on around the time of the Blount take-over. How long he was at 1340 WNHC-AM I don't know, but that station became WYBC-AM in 1998 and I haven't found any other references to him in the last 2 decades.