The Czech Voice of Cleveland – Joe Kocab
Forty-seven years is a long time – or perhaps if you are of my ‘vintage’ just a blink of an eye!
Either way, proud Czech-American Joe Kocab has been behind the radio microphone as “The Czech Voice of Cleveland” for over 47 years since his very first show on December 7, 1967.
Every Sunday Joe takes to the airwaves on WHKW (1220 AM) and his Czech greetings start two hours of talk about all things Czech. With a radio listening audience of over 80,000 listeners there are folks loving Joe and his stories, greetings, memories, and more! Through the wonders of computer radio, not only do folks across northern Ohio, southeast Michigan, northeast Pennsylvania, and across Lake Erie in Canada get to enjoy “The Czech Voice”, but so do I out in Chicago as do folks all over the world.
Joe has been involved in almost every conceivable Czech effort and organization in Cleveland in his lifetime. Among many other Czech related endeavors, Joe was instrumental in running Karlin Hall (a hall established by and for Czech Catholics) for decades and has been active in the Sokol of Greater Cleveland for decades as well.
As readers may know, the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has undertaken a wonderful effort to record Oral Histories titled “Recording Voices & Documenting Memories of Czech & Slovak Americans”. One of the oral histories they have recorded was that of Ludvík Barta. Ludvík tells the story of how, while Joe was head of Karlin Hall he would annually give a speech on October 28th to commemorate Czechoslovak Independence Day. These speeches caught the attention of the police in Czechoslovakia as a spy within the Czech community in Cleveland had evidently been sending copies of Joe’s speeches (at least of the speeches from 1985 and ’86) to the Communist Secret Police in Czechoslovakia! They even questioned Joe and amazed him to know just how much they knew about Joe, where he went, who he saw, and what he did in addition to his speeches. No one ever figured out who the spy was…but thankfully Joe has kept talking ever since!
Today Joe doesn’t have to worry about talking to the Communist Secret Police. Thank goodness since Joe said to me recently that his favorite part of doing his show is ‘talking to all the great Czech folks who listen and visit with me’.
It is wonderful that Joe continues to bring the Czech voice to all those who want to listen in. So if you have some time Sundays, between 2:00 and 4:00 pm (Central time) tune into 1220 on the AM dial or via the Internet at http://www.whkwradio.com. If you have a special request you can also give Joe a call at (216) 883-4760.
And when you do listen in, or better yet call, be sure to thank Joe for his work on behalf of all us proud Czech-Americans. After all, he is a loyal Czech Slavnosti subscriber and a big fan of Onward To Our Past®!