Polish Radio Station Goes Silent, Seeks New Home

Ewa Strzałkowska (Photo via Nowy Dziennik)

Last year we noted that the New York City area was getting a Polish-American radio station.  Recently, Polskie Radio USA closed its doors after six months due to financial pressures, Nowy Dziennik reported, but the founder of the station, Ewa Strzalkowska, is trying to revive the project and has enlisted some help. The article is translated from Polish below.

Polskie Radio USA went silent after just half a year, due to rising operation costs. But the creator of the Polish-language radio station, radio journalist Ewa Strzalkowska, hopes to make a return to the airwaves.

The station was founded by Strzalkowska and her husband Andrzej Krygowski. Polskie Radio USA broadcast a couple hours a day, seven days a week on a rented frequency, 1160 AM and 1520 AM from WCNJ, a radio station in Teaneck, N.J. Strzalkowska was formerly the director of the Polskie Radio New York 910 AM in Pomona, which was unexpectedly shut down on May 30, 2011.

Strzalkowska, supported by her husband and a group of friends, created the Polish Media Corporation LLC. The first program was broadcast on December 12, 2011. It was the only widely accessible Polish language station available in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. A team of radio journalists and employees broadcast news from the USA, Poland and other countries.  They also covered sports, events and important issues for Poles living in America.

“We paid some $30,000 a month for renting the studio alone,” said Ewa Strzalkowska. “That’s a large sum of money. When the half-year contract with WVNJ 1160 in Teaneck ended, we decided not to extend it because of high costs. We are currently in talks with another radio station, also using AM airwaves, which has more power and strength. If they can come up with a price we can afford, then we will come back on air. But for now we don’t know when it can happen.”

“Journalism is my profession and radio is my passion,” said Strzalkowska. “However, passion alone is not enough to survive.”

“We supported the radio financially and we’re looking for sponsors,” said Antoni Domino, a member of the Polish American Congress and the Polish-American Veterans’ Association, a sponsor of the radio station. “We also had a lot of people involved in creating of the program. At our next meeting we will discuss the possibility of doing something for Polskie Radio.”

“We need this radio, just like other Polish language media,” added Zbigniew Domino, also from PAVA. “Not many Polish-Americans run in elections. Without media, our ethnic group won’t mean much in this country.”

“It is a sad piece of news,” said Bozena Urbankowska, president of the Polish American Congress, North Jersey Division, who invited the radio station’s creators to a PAC meeting last year. “I remember the joy when Ewa Strzalkowska said she was creating a new Polish radio program. Many people declared support for the radio.”

“PAVA is one of our most important sponsors, with many of the organization members supporting us not only financially,” said Strzalkowska. “Veterans from PAVA would come to the studio and tell their stories on air. These were often 80-plus–[year-old] people who survived camps in Siberia, but they also talked about the struggles they came across coming to the U.S. after the war.”

“These programs were very popular and raised a lot of positive emotions,” said Ms. Strzalkowska. “We usually would get many phone calls from listeners.”

You can still catch Polskie Radio USA at: www.polskieradiousa.com.

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