Monday, April 18, 2011


Dick Yash still sounds and acts every bit the radio man. His voice is smooth and he can jump from topic to topic mentally keeping track of every idea on the table.  He still loves polka and still loves radio. He's still an aficionado and he has two sons who both are also champions in the polka arena. One is playing with a Grammy award winning Polka band out of Massachusetts: The Maestro's Men. His second son is with a polka band called the Boys From Baltimore. They appeared in the movie He Said She Said. He's one of those compelling, endearing figures that you start rooting for immediately. Dick's been thinking about getting a radio show again and so we all hope for his triumphant return to the airwaves.

He spared a little time last week to explain his radio career which is best described as careening around the radio dial. I don't think I have his story completely straight yet, but here's my best shot.

JF: Why is Polka your dish?
It was being brought up in a home of Czechoslovakians parents. It was way back when we started listening on the radio to Victor and Sophie Zembruski. Back in the fifties the main fixture was that husband and wife team. They lived in Naugatuck, CT. They had three radio shows, 1320 WATR-AM in Waterbury, 690 WADS-AM Ansonia and I don't remember the third. I started listening to Victor and Sophie when I was a toddler, every Sunday was a ritual in my house. By doing that I got a love of that music. I'm still rocking away even at my age.  [The Zembruski's daughter was still hosting that show in 2008, I'll post on them another time]

JF: Was 1500 WFIF-AM your first gig in radio?
My longest venture was at WFIF in Milford, we opened up the station. A gentlemen out of New York came in and got the license from the FCC. I was there from day one. We were a country radio station operating from the Connecticut Post shopping center. I floated during the week as a country DJ, 15-years worth. management asked me and I had the proud pleasure of MC-ing the Johnny Cash show. He was appearing at the coliseum. My last gig was at WADS-AM in Ansonia. I retired from WADS in 1991.

JF: When were you at WNHC-AM?
 I was there for about 2 years in the late seventies. 

JF: Did you have any other gigs in radioland?
1450 WNAB-AM in Bridgeport was one of my first gigs. Remember that station?  WNAB-AM now is out of Tennessee, but back then in the dark ages, out of Bridgeport. We were on Broad Street, the third floor. It was a 250 watts at that time. That was my very first job in radio way back when. That was in 1961. The largest one I was on was 1300 WAVZ-AM in New Haven. I was a a newsman there for a very short period of time. I would say that was around 1968-1969. I got my big break from Dick Alexander. Just one of the nicest gentlemen you'd ever want to meet. he had an evening show there, 7:00 PM to Midnight and that's how I got my start there. ...He said "Dick, there's a newscast that I do at 8:00 would you like to do it?"  He later went from there to 1530 WDJZ-AM. I eventually wound up there too. I was like a race car driver. I had many pit stops.

JF: When were you at 1530 WDJZ-AM?
I started at WDJZ-AM in 1980-something. I had a Polka show.

JF:  What was your connection to Joe Twarog?
Joe and I became friends just through other friends and Joe had a nine piece band. I got to know them very well and they'd appear on my radio show often. In turn a little gratis came up. Would you like to be on one of our albums if you wouldn't mind writing up something... I said sure. Before I knew it, there I was with my horn rim glasses on the back of the album. I think he's now in Florida.

JF: Well, you can't polka forever.
No, but I did for about 30 some odd years starting in 1961. I was at WNHU-FM The college in West Haven. [University of New Haven] I had a Saturday morning from sign-on I think 6:00 AM. Three hours worth of polka. That lasted for a brief period of time. I was also, to show you how diversified... my second job was at WWCO-AM after WNAB-AM. I was hired as a DJ doing rock music.  They at that point went 24 hours and they asked me if I wanted to do Midnight to 5:00 AM. I said sure. There I went,  from Polka to Rock; changing my name to Dick Nash.

Do you think still about getting a show somewhere local?
I am at a point in life that I would love to do it but I need 109 and a half people to get out and push me. If I had about a million bucks I could always buy a station.