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Thursday, August 20, 2015

R.I.P. WRIV Polka King Johnny Niecko

Johnny Niecko
Johnny Niecko, who for more than 30 years hosted an authentic Polish polka show on WRIV 1390 AM in Riverhead NY died Wednesday.

He was 77, according to The News Review.  He had suffered from health problems in recent years which forced him to retire from radio in 2013 after 37 years.

During that time, Mr. Niecko became a well-known personality in the polka music scene; his radio show’s theme song was performed by a professional polka group and includes lyrics welcoming Mr. Niecko and his Riverhead listeners.

“Oh, he loved doing this polka program,” Ms. Raynor said. “He was very upset that he had to give it up.”

Mr. Niecko was born in Poland and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea and settled down in Riverhead.

Mr. Niecko got his start with WLNG, but settled at Riverhead’s local station WRIV in 1982.

“He was good at what he did,” said WRIV radio host Bruce Tria. “He was just a terribly nice guy. He always walked in with his buttered roll and his container of coffee.”

For decades, Niecko walked up the three-and-a-half flights of stairs to the WRIV office on Sundays to play his polka. Sometimes, Ms. Raynor said, his children and wife would tag along to answer phone calls and take down requests from listeners.

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