Saturdays & Sundays
12:00 - 3:00 p.m.
On your radio
in West Michigan
on AM 1530 WYGR.
Or listen on-line:
|:: Jerry Baczewski & Ernie Pickem ::
Our goal is to make this page a sort of
"Jerry & Ernie Museum",
but we need your help!
If you have a tape recording, a photo,
a press clipping, or just a story you'd like to share,
please e-mail it to
Or mail it to
WYGR Polka Pops
P.O. Box 9591
Wyoming, MI 49509
If you're sending us an "original" that you need back,
please let us know and we'll get it back to you.
|The Polka Pops "The Nation's Premier Polka Show"
Here's a memory of Jerry and Ernie from Rocky & Diane Rothenthaler:
We oftened vacationed with Jerry and Diana, usually to Las Vegas. One of the trips we took was in
1998, over Valentine's Day. Mary Puhalski and "Sanderella" (Sandy Crapsey) were planning to go
to Vegas with us. Ernie was down sick with (what we all thought was) pneumonia. Mary decided to
stay home because Ernie was feeling so sick.
On Valentine's morning, we wore our "WYGR Polka Pops, Jerry and Ernie" Shirts (see above), as
was our Vegas tradition. That morning Rocky and Jerry both won jackpots on the $1 slots (very
unusual for either of them). The next day we got the sad news that Ernie passed away. It was a
bittersweet trip, full of highs and lows for all of us. Who would imagine that one year later Jerry
would be gone too.
We miss our buddies more that words can say. Sanderella has since passed away also. We think
she is cooking and tending bar for both of the guys up there in Polka Heaven.
Every trip to Vegas, we always wear our "WYGR Polka Pops, Jerry and Ernie" shirts in memory of the
two Polka Legends, Jerry and Ernie.
E-Mail Received from Jerry's Widow, Diana, During the annual Polka Pops
"Jerry & Ernie Tribute Show", Sunday February 14, 2010:
What wonderful memories you evoke with this yearly show in memory of Jerry and Ernie. Hearing
“Strawberries and Raspberries” open the show reminded me so much of the times I was in my
kitchen every Saturday and Sunday baking cookies while I listened to the show. When Jerry came
home from the show, we would head down to the “5 Spot” to get rid of the cookies. Many thanks
to Rocky and Diane for the Las Vegas memory. Can’t help but to remember Jerry and my trip to
Florida/Las Vegas with Rocky and Diane. The Daytona 500 race is today. We had an opportunity
to visit Daytona Raceway on that trip and take a ride around the track. Of course, our many trips
to Frankenmuth with Mary and Ernie were unforgettable. The trips down Main Street were the
best, especially stopping into the General Store for their “Penny Candy”. We so looked forward to
the party at Val and Mark’s house. Great times. A couple of tidbits you may not have been aware
of were that Jerry and my first “official date” was to the car show at the DeVos, at that time it was
during the first week of February. Also, Jerry and I became engaged during Valentine’s Day
weekend in 1997. So February is a very bittersweet month for all of us. Tell Mary that she is
always in my hearts and tell Laura that “Mrs. T’s” just doesn’t compare at all to hers. I miss her
In closing, I can’t thank WYGR [enough] for keeping the show going. Being able to listen to the
show on the Internet is great. You are making memories!
Boca Raton, Florida
E-Mail received from "Denny White Legs" on July 13, 2010:
I worked with Ernie and Jerry in the late 70's at WEHB community radio. There was quite an
eclectic group of people there at that time from Jazz to Folk, Soul, Blues and Punk Rock. And
then there was the Polka show with Ernie and Jerry. Those guys really loved what they did and
cared about their fans. A lot of us had never worked in radio before and had good role models in
those two guys. Board meetings were always interesting with the diversity of people that gathered
there. Ernie and Jerry always pitched in and did what they could to help out, whether it was to
cover a shift where someone didn't show, or work on the myriad of fund raisers we had to have to
stay afloat. Their audience always did more than their share to help out. I co-hosted an oldies
show and Ernie would sometimes drop by just to listen and offer encouragement. Even when I
moved on to host Punk Rock Ernie was around occasionally. They were by far the nicest people I
ever met in the radio business and I enjoyed those days and knowing two fine gentlemen.
Jerry & Ernie Pictures (courtesy of Diana Baczewski):
Posted on our Facebook page, July 25, 2010. Go to Photo Album.