History of the Croatian-American Radio Club
During a social gathering on January 26, 1935 at the home of Ivan Majdak, a discussion was held about Croatian cultural and benevolent organizations in Chicago. During their discussions it was agreed that a radio program spoken in Croatian would benefit the Croatian-Americans living in Chicago.
At the next gathering on February 16, 1935, the following were present: Ivan Skvorc, Jakov Zuro, Ivan Karakas, Mato Poturica, Ivan Majdak, Daniel Duic, Stjepan Miler, Mike Rasperger, Martin Furlan, Ivan Golic, Luka Coha, Mato Vrbatovic, and Luka Kalanj. Ivan Majdak suggested that the name of the organization be “The Croatian American Radio Club of Chicago”. The name was accepted and by-laws were written.
The fundamental purpose of the Club was to be a link between Croatians, remaining non-political, promoting the Croatian language, songs, cultural traditions, and ethnic heritage. At the same time familiarize American Croatians with the colorful images of Croatia and help new Croatian immigrants become better citizens of their new homeland.
The first board was elected:
President – Ivan Majdak
Vice-President – Ivan Golic
Secretary – Mato Poturica
Treasuer – Jakov Zuro
Program Director – Louis Duic
A contract was signed with WEDC radio on February 23, 1935 and for the first time on March 2, 1935 a Croatian radio program was on the air. The initial programs were a half hour long every Saturday but with the help of listeners and local businesses the program expanded to 1 hour.
In 1960, the program aired every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to noon on WGES and on Saturdays from 4pm-5pm on WHFC 1450 AM and WEHS 97.9 FM. From 1968 to August 1985 the program aired on WTAQ in LaGrange.
In 1977 the members decided to build a club at 7036 W. Archer Avenue in Chicago’s southwest side. The building was completed on November 5, 1977.
In the summer of 1981, club president Stijepan Sitar, and Ante Galovic decided to start a Croatian language school focusing on language, literature, history, geography, songs, and dance. More than 50 students were enrolled for the first class which was held on September 25, 1981. In 1984, a Croatian dance group was formed under the name “Matija Gubec”, a legendary folk hero.
Activities were held to bring the community together such as an annual club anniversary dinner, Mother’s Day banquet, Father’s Day picnic, and Croatian School Christmas program.
Today, the Club continues in the footsteps of its predecessors continuing to strive for the same goals and purposes of the foundation which was put in place in 1935. As a new generation moves the organization forward, we are grateful to the work and dedication which past generations have bestowed.