Tony Petkovsek has been on daily polka radio since 1961, but since the 1980’s his broadcasting presence in Lake County has helped earn him the title of “America’s Polka Ambassador” promoting major events and festivals and leading “polka music tours” around the world. At age 72 he continues to broadcast his radio show, which is the longest running polka show in America, from his Fairport Harbor home, featuring Cleveland-style polka music and community news for his thousands of fans. Tony also broadcasts globally via the internet.
While others dream of retiring, Tony continues to provide radio broadcast entertainment and polka music events to music-lovers of this nostalgic sound across Northeast Ohio and beyond. Tony continues to serve as a tour host taking polka fans around the world, and encouraging people of all ages to travel. Each year, thousands of polka fans from across America converge on Cleveland to take in the many activities that encompass the Thanksgiving polka weekend, which Tony initiated in 1963. He remains a great example of a senior leading an active lifestyle.
Through the Cleveland-Slovenian Radio Club, Tony played a role in raising over $250,000 for charitable purposes, and has served on the Ohio Arts Council. In 1967 Tony was the youngest person to receive the Slovenian Man of the Year Award in Cleveland, and has been inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the St. Joseph High School Hall of Fame, and the National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame.
In 2012, Tony was honored to receive the Merit Badge of Service of the country of Slovenia, presented by President Danilo Turk in 2012.