Michael Matthews first heard of CKUA when he lived in Calgary in the 70s. Fast forward around 30 years. Suddenly CKUA was a lifeline as he found himself in an isolated fire tower for a summer.
“I was expecting to listen to old cassettes on my boombox – which drew down the batteries at an alarming rate – or maybe local CBC radio. Imagine my delight at discovering great music coming from my radio, from CKUA in Lethbridge,” he says. “I knew immediately that my stint in the fire tower was going to be more enjoyable.”
Michael spent the next ten summers in that tower, far from civilization. “I’m convinced it helped preserve my sanity,” he says. “Those days and weeks in the fire tower were made bearable, even pleasant, because of CKUA. I love music and CKUA was there when I needed it.”
World Spinning on Sunday quickly became Michael’s favourite. “I love to travel and I’ve always been captivated by the music of people in far-off lands. I found Lark Clark’s commentary to be informative and intelligent and her show was full of surprises and new music I’d never heard before.”
Michael’s dedication was cemented the day Lark mentioned on air that she appreciated the folks who worked in fire towers. He decided to start supporting the show, donating an hour of World Spinning each fundraiser. He and Lark corresponded about the shows and she even attended one of his Edmonton art exhibit openings.
Michael is an accomplished artist, with paintings hanging in Canadian embassies in both Washington, D.C., and Warsaw, Poland, as well as in the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton. Michael and his wife Jane Crow live in the Columbia Valley of British Columbia and travel often.
He’s also a passionate amateur musician. “I love instruments and have collected them all over the world. It’s one of the big reasons I love Lark’s show. I suppose my biggest hobby is trying to learn to play the instruments I’ve collected.”
Thanks for all you do, Michael!
If you’d like to donate an hour of your favourite show, like Michael, learn more here.
Michael’s song recommendation: “Chacarera del Triste” by Los Calchaleros