In late July of 1978, Cam Hayden rode from Calgary to Edmonton on his 750 BMW motorcycle. All he had was the contents of two saddlebags and an itch to do “real” radio. After some intake paperwork, he was thrown in the deep end of the pool, and began hosting two separate classical music programs on CKUA. Now he’s marking 45 years at the station!
Since then, he has hosted programs at almost every time of day, covering every style and era of music. He was a full-time staff host until 2001, and started his beloved Friday Night Blues Party around 1991.
Cam’s skills as a host and interviewer are legendary. When Shayne Giles began hosting This Music Changed My Life in 2022, they benefitted from one-on-one mentorship from Cam. “Earlier this year, at my request, Cam sat down and listened to one of my shows,” says Shayne. “He wrote out some very thoughtful feedback, considered why I might have made the choices I did, and was very patient in explaining to me how I could do it better. It helped a lot to build my confidence on air, and since then, I’ve really been able to flourish and expand my comfort zone. It was very much a turning point for me.”
Colleagues who have worked with Cam for decades share these sentiments.
Holger Petersen says, “Cam is respected in the blues community around the world for his radio shows and his great programming of the Edmonton Blues Festival. He digs deep to support Canadian blues artists, and has won awards in Memphis and Toronto for his dedication. Congratulations to Cam on 45 years, and for his always inspiring Friday Night Blues Party!”
Lark Clark recalls, “On my first day on-air on CKUA, in 1997, Cam popped into main control, a tiny hovel of a space, and said, ‘Know what you’re going to say before you open the mic.'” Lark knows Cam lives by his own advice. He’s always prepared, and as Lark says, “I’ve never heard Cam ‘um’ and ‘ah,’ or stutter, or flail. I know what goes into making a clear statement sound easy, and it ain’t easy. I could listen to Cam Hayden all day.”
Congratulations, and thank you, Cam. The CKUA audience and your colleagues are grateful for the wisdom and creativity that you always bring when you are in the host chair.
Hear Friday Night Blues Party every Friday from 9pm to midnight on CKUA.
And if you missed the July 28 episode in which Cam reflects on his 45 years at CKUA, you can catch it On Demand.