Croatian American Radio Club celebrates 80th Anniversary
Like many great things Croatian, it all starts from a social gathering. Think legendary soccer team Hajduk Split. The soccer team was started after a group of students in Prague went to a pub after a soccer game. It was during this 'social gathering' the great club was created in 1911. 24 years later in 1935, another 'social gathering' took place, this time in Chicago in the home of Ivan Majdak. It was agreed a radio station was needed for the Croatian-Americans in Chicago, as a means to hear news of the homeland, news of the community, and preserve the language and traditions, a way to keep the cultural identity alive.
Ivan Majdak became the first president of the radio station, and it first aired on March 2, 1935. The Radio club possessed long term vision for the station to continue for future generations. In 1960 it purchased a building on Chicago's Southwest Side, where even today it still remains as the station's headquarters. During the 60's, 70's and 80's, was a period where many Croatians immigrants were arriving to Chicago, fleeing from Communist Yugoslavia. This new wave increased the intensity to keep the cultural identity alive and promote the struggle for statehood. During the 1990's, the station played a crucial role in keeping the community informed about the Croatian War of Independence and helping with fundraising efforts.
Recently in 2012, a revival had occurred where new a board of directors were elected to represent the new generation. Amongst one of the new initiatives were the renovation of the club, and a creation of an outdoor patio. There are also plans to renovate the kitchen and dining area. The club is working hard to help keep the Croatian communities alive. In an effort to promote activities for Croatian youth and families to convene, the club introduced TaeKwonDo activities which are instructed by expert Marinko Luburic, who was admitted to the TaeKwonDo Hall of Fame in October 2013. Instruction is available for children from ages 4 to 12. The Club is also uniting the North and South of Chicago, by creating a junior team on the south side under H.N.K. Hrvat Chicago soccer team open to boys and girls. The President, Ivica Simunic of Croatian American Radio Club and Mate Zaper are the team’s coaches.
On Saturday March 14th, the Croatian American Radio Club formally marked the achievement by holding an 80th Anniversary Banquet at St. Jerome Hall. Music was provided by "Matko i Brane" from Croatia. Food of course was traditional, including the popular Zagrebacka snicla! Over 350 people were in attendance including Consul General Jelena Grcic Polic. The mood for the evening was festive with plenty of dancing until the early hours in the morning. M.C. for the evening was Mr. Jerko Sumera. The President, Ivica Simunic also presented Mr. Mile Perkovic with an Award of Appreciation for his outstanding commitment of 14 years of voluntary service to the Radio. Fr. Ivica Majstorovic, also a radio announcer for the Catholic section of the radio, provided a speech and touched on the sentimental value people receive when requesting a song for a birthday or anniversary, it is not about the money, but the action that someone cares and has thought of them, can move people to tears! One of the many benefits of a community radio station is that it is for the community, and everyone listening is connected.
The Radio Club is reliant on volunteers and donations. Anyone interested in being part of the club, or would like to gain radio announcing experience, please contact the club on email@example.com
The Radio station has received many best wishes and congratulations from the Chicago Croatian community and also from the Mayor of the City of Chicago! It has all been well documented in the anniversary book 'Croatian American Radio Club - celebrating 80 years'.
If this had been a wedding anniversary, a gift made of oak would be given. Traditionally, oak is used because oak trees are well known for living to a great age, are capable of surviving in serious storms! A lot of hard work and effort has been given from many great Croatian volunteers keeping this program running. Lets toast together to this successful achievement with a shot of Rakija (or less potent Kruskovac) with a Zivili, and look forward to more anniversaries not only from the Croatian American Radio Club, but other Croatian organizations all over Chicago and USA.