Chicago Sun Times - Keith Stras the WPNA-AM (1490) polka host, emcees the polka portion of Sunday's 20th Anniversary Farm Aid concert at the Tweeter Center in south suburban Tinley Park.
Chicago Sun Times - Keith Stras, Chicago's polka radio king, will celebrate his 26th year on the air with more than 1,000 fans by broadcasting from "Polkapalooza" at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas.
Chicago Sun Times - Keith Stras, whose "Great Escape Polka Network" blankets radio and the internet, has added a new show, "Polka Sessions" at 10:30am Sundays at WPNA-AM (1490).
The King Of Polka:
Keith Stras Can't Stop Dancing To The Beat
SOME CHILDREN FOLLOW IN THEIR PARENTS' FOOTSTEPS, WHILE OTHERS MARCH TO A DIFFERENT BEAT. KEITH STRAS IS ONE OF THE MARCHERS. AND THE BEAT IS THAT OF THE POLKA.
"There have been a lot of jokes made about me being switched as a baby in the hospital," said the 32-year-old Schaumburg resident. "I don't resemble any family member. My relatives are quiet, reserved, middle class. No one spoke Polish or normally listened to polka music at home. I don't speak Polish, but I sing songs in Polish. And I'm anything but quiet and reserved."
Though Stras is only half Polish-he's also one-quarter Lithuanian and one-quarter Italian-he has hosted polka radio shows since the age of 15 and polka television shows for the last seven years. He has also presided over many polka events as a master of ceremonies.
Stras is also the current and youngest president of the International Polka Association (IPA), a 25-year-old group with 1,500 members nationwide that recently held its convention in Rosemont.
In addition, he has produced countless polka fundraisers and festivals for charity organizations such as the Department of Children and Family Services, Catholic Charities, The Greater Chicago Church Federation, the Neediest Children's Fund, Misericordia, as well as events that benefit muscular dystrophy research.