DJ Profile: Harold Otto
Harold Otto has been broadcasting polka music for 50 years now. Harold does his internet polka show out of Pulaski, Wisconsin. For 40 years, Mr. Otto also hosted a local television show in his area called Polka Variety, where polka bands would perform live on the air (very similar to Mollie B Polka Party). I had the chance to ask Harold a few questions.
TPN: How do you feel about 50 years of broadcasting polka music?
HO: I love every minute of it. It's nice to do something for people who enjoy polka music. It's something to give back to the polka fans. I started out at the WBY station and was there for 43 years. I worked hard to keep my show going such as selling my own advertising. In the end, it all worked out real good.
TPN: Since your current polka show is worldwide, do you ever get feedback from other countries?
HO: Yes, It is unreal. Two years ago I played a song on my show and after it was over, I received an email from some people in England who thanked me for playing the song. The polka fans are out there. I'll never forget when that happened, it was a surprise.
TPN: What songs or bands do you get the most requests for?
HO: Frankie Yankovic, Six Fat Dutchmen, The Dick Rogers Orchestra, (which I worked for him for over 25 years) and Squeezebox featuring Ted Lange and Mollie B. I also get requests for lots of Polish, Dutchman and Slovenian style polka music.
TPN: Can you share any fond memories from your polka DJ career?
HO: Yes. I remember when I used to work at the Cinderella Ballroom in Appleton. There was a polka band that played there called Cousin Fuzzy and the Cousins. They would pack the place in and I enjoyed promoting them. I also met Frankie Yankovic. One thing I remember about him is that he worked hard at what he did. If he had to play seven days a week, he'd be more than happy to do it. He was the king.
TPN: Do you feel that it is important to keep polka music alive by broadcasting it over the air?
HO: You'd better believe it! Especially since lots of the dance halls have closed and the crowds aren't there like they used to be. I want to keep the people happy and keep the polka fans going.
Harold's Polka Show can be heard online at 247polkaheaven.com. He also is one of the founders of Pulaski Polka Days, which is celebrating it's 40th festival in July. Read more on next page.
Dance time 8-11:30pm unless otherwise noted.
All dances are open to public and singles are welcome.
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