|WTBR's 'Polka Express' Carries On|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
04:56PM / Saturday, September 15, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The man most known for Friday night's "Polka Express" has gone but the music hasn't.
Photo courtesy of WTBR
Carl and Lucy Flossic have been hosting 'Polka Express' on WTBR for 33 years.
Carl Flossic died on Aug. 25 after his vehicle collided with a delivery truck near Peck's Road. The 80-year-old hosted "Polka Express" with his wife, Lucy, and son, Bill Gustavis, in what has been the most consistent show in the Taconic High School station's history for the last 33 years.
But the show must go on and Lucy and Bill returned to the microphone Friday night at 89.7-FM to continue a show that rings out of speakers across the nation.
"We just thought Carl would want this. He would want us to carry it on," Lucy Flossic said on Friday afternoon. "There are a lot of people who enjoy listening."
The couple began the show only a few years into their marriage. They had met at a polka dance in Connecticut and together shared their love of their Polish heritage by being active in many organizations — from competing in folk dancing contests to attending concerts across the country.
"We loved polka music and we thought it would be nice to do a show," Lucy Flossic said.
They contacted the school and received approval to host out of what Lucy called "the dungeon" of a studio. Since then, they had been playing their favorite polkas through all of the highs and lows of the station's history. When The Brave had barely any listeners and the equipment was falling apart, the broadcast towers still had Friday night polka to bring to homes.
"They've been on Friday nights since. ... They've been on it when nothing really worked," current station adviser Larry Kratka said, as he recapped the station's rocky history. "Through all of this, Carl and Lucy were playing polkas. It didn't bother them."
Even after filling in for hosts on other stations for short periods of time, they always found their way back to the halls of Taconic High School.
Kratka even credits Carl Flossic for getting him involved in the station, which led to a revitalization of the deteriorating studio.
"I always told Carl it was his fault for getting me involved," Kratka said.
Some years back, Flossic came into the station to find his microphone was broken and the adviser didn't know what to do. He called Kratka, news director for the local Vox Communications stations.
Joking with Bill during a live show at Park Square.
Bill began filling in when they would be out of town and 10 years after the couple started the show, he joined the lineup.
The show is recorded live on Friday nights and replayed Sunday morning. Through livestreaming, the couple gained fans throughout the country.
Kratka recalled seeing Carl Flossic with the headphones on and whistling to the songs. On Aug. 26, the replay of what was not expected to be Flossic's final show aired. That show replayed the following Friday night and Sunday morning.
But on Sept. 10, Lucy and Bill were back on the air with a show dedicated to Carl.
On Fridays from 6 until 8 p.m., they'll be back with their regular programming, which includes news and information about the community. However, they have reduced the show from three hours to two. The show will be replayed on Sunday mornings from 8 until 10.