Ostanek starred in turn on CHCH (Hamilton) TV's 'Polka Party' and, 1975-89, CKCO (Kitchener) TV's 'Polka Time'. He has had his own radio shows on the Niagara region stations CKTB, CHOW, CJFT, CJRN, CHSC-FM, and CJQR-FM. During the 1960s and early 1970s he was seen occasionally with his US counterpart Frankie Yankovic on US TV (eg, the Johnny Carson and Phil Donahue shows). Ostanek also has performed throughout his career in clubs, halls and recreation centres, for Oktoberfests, and at tourist attractions (eg, Marineland, Niagara Falls, during the late 1980s) in south-central Ontario.
Drawing on a repertoire of traditional and original polkas, as well as pop tunes adapted to a polka rhythm, Ostanek began recording in 1963, and by 1990 had recorded more than 35 LPs for Arc, Axe, Boot, Marjon, WRS, his own Soundcraft and WJO labels, and other companies. The albums By Special Request (Soundcraft PRP-249/CBS Select BUT-50162), All Aboard (It's Polka Time), (WRS WRP-10010), and Anytime Is Polka Time (WRS WRP-10012) were nominated for (US) Grammy awards as best polka recording in 1986, 1988 and 1989 respectively. Ostanek was inducted into the International Polka Hall of Fame (Chicago) in 1983 and the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame (Euclid, Ohio) in 1988.
Pearson, Ian. "The Polka King," SatN, vol 105, May 1990
Links to Other Sites
Grammy board axes polka category to stay 'relevant and responsive'
A CBC News story about polka king Walter Ostanek's reaction to the Grammy board's decision to delete the polka category.
Walter Ostanek Band
View videos of the Walter Ostanek Band performing popular polka tunes.