WADSWORTH – A round of applause goes to Gene Kovack, Joe Gabrosek and 15 other winners of 2013 Clapper Awards for producers of local programs shown on WCTV, the city’s community access television station.
Kovack and Gabrosek, of course, are hosts of “Polka Time Again,” the program that is almost legendary among community television fans. Kovack and Gabrosek were honored for producing their 1,000th episode of the show featuring videos of polka music and dancing.
The story of Polka Time Again began in 1994 when Kovack was taking his weekly accordion lesson with his mentor, Frank Spetich. The conversation turned to the old television show, “Polka Varieties” and how much the program was enjoyed, and missed, by polka fans in Northeast Ohio.
A light bulb went off in Kovack’s head as he realized that he lived in a community (Wadsworth) that had a community access television studio (WCTV), where residents can produce their own television show for free.
Spetich encouraged Kovack to move forward with this idea of producing a local polka show to fill the niche that had been empty since “Polka Varieties” had gone off the air in 1975.
And so “Polka Time Again – Memories of a Sunday Afternoon” was born on April 12, 1994.
With Kovack and Gabrosek acting as hosts, the show features music from not only Northeast Ohio but Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Austria, and polka bands from the entire United States and Canada.
“Polka Time Again” has become one of the area’s most popular public access programs. It is produced at and broadcast on Wadsworth Community Television Channel 15, and available for viewing online at my.pegcentral.com. It is currently also shown on Cable 9 in Macedonia, Hudson Community Television, Clear Picture Wooster, Armstrong Cable in Medina, Massillon Cable, Brunswick Area Television, Austintown Community Television Channel 19, the city of Mentor and Perry.
In the past 19 years, the show has received many WCTV Clapper Awards for best public access show, best entertainment show and best series. It has also been awarded several regional and national video competition awards for excellence in programming from the Alliance for Community Television.
Last year, Kovack and Gabrosek also won the National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame Achievement Award for Support and Promotion of the Polka Music Genre.
Host With The Most
and other awards
Another big award presented by WCTV producers Johanna Perrino and John Madding Nov. 19 was the Host With The Most Award which went to John Grom.
Grom moderates “Right and Left” a show in which a panel representing opposing political views presents a civil discussion on important issues.
The coveted Host With the Most Award got special attention during the Clapper Awards as Perrino and Madding called on Stacey Hornfeck, last year’s Host With the Most, to present Grom with a colorful hat symbolic of his new award.
There were nearly 150 nominations for the best shows produced on WCTV in 2012. Award winners in 16 categories were selected by voters and a panel of outside judges representing media professionals.
Perrino said online voting counted for 50 percent of the scoring for Clapper Awards and 50 percent was the result of quality as judged by unbiased judges in Toledo and Florida.
Three people also got awards not based on judging, but on their dedication and success at producing local television programs. Presented with Outstanding Achievement Awards by the WCTV staff were Roger Wright, Paul Blankenship and Robyn House.
Wright has been one of the voices of Grizzly football games for 10 years, Blankenship has long produced two religious shows and House has been hosting “Home Scents” for 10 years.
Clapper Award winners
Best School Event – 2013 Sacred Heart Talent Show (Sacred Heart School)
Best Look Into Our Schools – Art Wright Stadium Update (Joe Magnacca and Rich Barnett)
Best School Performance – WMS Winter Choral Concert (Terry Livers)
Best Student Production – Speech & Debate End of the Season (Mina Hoffman)
Best Documentary – Let’s Go Adventure Series — Tiffany’s Bird Farm (Roger Polk)
Best Religious – Grace & Truth Church — A Former Life (Larry States and Kyle Wagner)
Best Worship Service – First Christian Church
Best Performing Arts – Wadsworth Community Band Presents America the Beautiful (Mark Sterling and Sally Lewis)
Best Public Awareness – A Day in the Life of EMS (Tim Phillips)
Best Promotional – Ride a Bike PSA (Andrew Reed)
Best Special Event – Swing Into Spring Fashion Show (Bob Parmelee)
Best Sports & Recreation – Back to Back to Back — 2012-2013 WHS Girls’ Basketball Highlights (Andrew Booth)
Best Instructional –Discover Your Creatoonity — Shading (Jeff Nicholas)
Best Informational – Your Health & Wellness — Heart & Vascular Services (Mark P. Grisko)
Best Talk Show – Voice of the Voter — Armed Educators: Pass or Fail? (Roger Polk)
Best Entertainment — Polka Time Again (Gene Kovack and Joe Gabrosek)
Host With the Most – John Grom
Milestone Awards – 100th Show, Georjette Thomas “One of a Kind Pets;” 100th Show, David R. Kenney “Light From Above;” 200th Show, Paul Blankenship “New Life Ministries;” 800th Show, Roger Polk “The Ultimate Game – Paintball;” 1000th Show, Gene Kovack and Joe Gabrosek “Polka Time Again.”