“The Czech Voice of Cleveland” Bids Sbohem to Joe Kocab
In the January/February, 2015 edition of Czech Slavnosti we published a story about the fabulous and dedicated Joe Kocab, better known as The Czech Voice of Cleveland. For over 48 years – yep 48 years – Joe climbed behind the radio microphone and did his best, week in and week out to keep all things Czech on the airwaves emanating out of Cleveland, Ohio.
Conducting his radio show was a true labor of love by Joe and it fit right in with his involvement in almost every single Czech organization that graced the streets and neighborhoods of Cleveland over the years. In addition to The Czech Voice radio show, Joe ran the Ceska Sin Karlin Hall (established in 1936 by a Czech group known as the Catholic Workmen), was an active member of Sokol Greater Cleveland, Cleveland’s Bohemian National Hall, the Czech Catholic Union, and several of others. The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper called him “the unofficial godfather to the surrounding Czech community”!
Joe spent his working days as an assistant principal in Cleveland schools, but invested his heart and soul in maintaining the rich and deep Czech history, traditions, organizations, and culture in Cleveland alive. Perhaps the best part of Joe’s work, at least to me out here in Chicago, was the fact his radio show was simulcast over the Internet and I, along with tens of thousands of other Czechophiles, could catch him every Sunday no matter where we were sitting.
In March of this year, we are sad to say, Joe decided to retire. After 48+ years and after his regular broadcast on February 28th, Joe pushed away from the microphone and hung up his headphones for the last time. It is hard to say farewell to someone who relentlessly (I choose the previous word very purposefully) championed his deep and abiding love of Czech history and heritage. All of us owe a huge debt of gratitude to Joe! If you’d like to thank him personally, you can send him a note at 4501 Cullen Drive, Cleveland, Ohio 44105.
Luckily, there is a New Czech Voice of Cleveland taking over a portion of Joe’s old timeslot! The new voice will be John Sabol and he is a very knowledgeable fellow himself!
John is a Cleveland, Ohio, area author and lecturer on local history and genealogical research and the host of the New Czech Voice of Cleveland radio program, airing each Sunday from 3-4 p.m. on WHKW 122 AM in Cleveland.
He has written four books for Arcadia Publishing that chronicle the histories of Cleveland Czechs, Cleveland Slovaks, Cleveland’s Buckeye Neighborhood, and Kelleys Island.
A Cleveland native and graduate of Benedictine High School and Cleveland State University, he worked as a reporter and editor at the Cleveland Press until it closed in 1982.
You can catch the New Czech Voice of Cleveland on WHKW 1220 AM from 3:03 pm to 4:00 pm on Sundays. If you are out of the immediate listening area, you can tune in on your computer at http://whkwradio.com/.
Excuse me now, but I have to go raise a stein of Pilsner Urquell and one of Czechvar to say a proper dekuji moc and na zdravi, Joe!