IPA Hall of Fame Categories
IPA Hall of Fame Biography
Carl Rohwetter was born March 1, 1930, the son of John and Elizabeth Rohwetter in Marion Township, County of Saginaw, Michigan. His father played the button accordion, as so many did in the farming area. Carl along with his brothers, John and Francis were always entertained with Polka Music. Carl's love of Polka Music started as a very young child.
In 1950, he was discharged from the United States Marine Corps after serving three programs in the Marion Springs and Brant area. He hired bands such as "Johns Hot Shots," "The Polka Dots," and "Len Lisik and the Polka Tets." In 1957, Carl booked Frankie Yankovic at the Golden Glow Ballroom near St. Charles for the baseball program. There were nearly 1000 people in attendance. In 1958, he had Li'l Wally from Chicago come to the Central Michigan Area (Golden Glow) for the first time. That also drew a crowd of nearly 1,000 people.
In 1960, Carl and Lou Sipka worked together to bring many bands to Central Michigan such as Johnny Hyzny, Marion Lush, Johnny Bomba, Leon Kozicki and many others. In 1961, Carl and Lou formed partnership and bought Edgewood Gardens (as it was known then) in Owosso, Michigan, and brought many other bands into this area for the first time such as Eddie Blazonczyk, Alvin Styczynski and Jolly Brothers. The Three Bears with Walt Praski and Studenka Brothers drew over 1,200 people for a Sunday dance.
In 1965, he became the Polka disc jockey under the name of "Uncle Carl." He was on Station WDF in Flint for one year, on in Saginaw for 3 years and WOAP in Owosoo for the next 19 years. The Polka Show on the Owosso Station became a two-hour program.
In 1970, along with Paul Grim, Carl started the newspaper called Michigan Polka News. In 1976, Carl purchased The Polka World newspaper from "Big Joe Siedlik" of Nebraska. The paper expanded heavily in other states and was then now called The Polka News. The paper was published twice each month and had a circulation of nearly 7,000 by the time he entered the Polka Hall of Fame. The Polka News won awards for the next six years from the United States Polka Association as the "Favorite Polka Publication." Also,Carl received an award from the Polka Connection of Detroit in 1986 for his efforts in promoting Polka Music. Carl put in approximately 40 hours a week on The Polka News in addition to his regular job as a dispatcher at Buick Motor Division of General Motors. He also had three other people employed by the newspaper.
Carl was among those who were instrumental in forming the Central Michigan Polka Music Association, Michigan Polka Boosters and the State of Michigan Polka Music Hall of Fame with the first inductions in 1971. He also helped the Polka Association put out three Polka Albums. He was inducted into the Michigan Polka Music Hall of Fame in 1987 and received the International Polka Association's Joseph Jozwiak Memorial Achievement Award in 1995.
Carl received a Founders Award for his efforts in helping to form Polka Music Clubs United, which was started in 1985. His reasoning is that polka music must have unity of purpose in order to program for the future. The club had over 41,000 members. He was also a director in Europe-America United and a member of many polka music organizations.
Carl was married to the former Mary Anne Sipka and they had two sons, Jim and John. They lived in St. Charles, Michigan. He is now deceased.