“He’s a pro.”
That’s not all you need to know about Cam Hayden and the story of his forty years on CKUA. But it’s an excellent place to start.
As one of CKUA’s most admired, respected and successful hosts, Cam has paired his passion for music with pride in his craft as a broadcaster.
“He basically just wants to go about doing a professional job,” says Ken Regan, CKUA’s erstwhile CEO. “He comes in, does his job well, and goes home.”
Cam’s impulse to take care of business and see it done right reaches all the way back to high school in Calgary — where Cam ran the radio station for three years – and to his early career at CKUA. Already a devotee of the blues, the recent graduate of SAIT’s Television Stage and Radio Arts program made a point of expanding his reach, methodically working his way through the record library shelves section by section, dropping the needle on each disc so that he’d have exceptional working knowledge in multiple genres.
“He can in fact program ANYthing,” says Regan. “He’s done classical and mixed format at CKUA and has a vast knowledge of all genres, including jazz.”
Although his first CKUA gig was as the host of a classical music program, Cam would go on to host — among other offerings — the weekday mixed-music morning show and a Saturday night program that showcased a variety of genres, including electronic music and reggae. The latter segment was so successful that Cam was recognized with an award by Edmonton’s reggae community.
From his dedication to being a well-rounded presenter to his understanding of exemplary microphone technique, Cam embodies the inclinations and aptitudes of a great broadcaster. And, not coincidentally, a great cultural advocate and impresario.
As the co-founder of what would become the Edmonton Blues Festival, Cam has taken pride in the financial discipline that helped lead the event through twenty years of cultivating an audience – and a loyal volunteer army — that now feels more like a family.
“I think his approach to whatever he does,” says Ken Regan, “his attention to detail, his commitment to trying to get it right is what has made him a very successful festival producer in the same way it has made him a very successful radio producer.”
And a trusted community builder and booster. Cam’s commitment to music has been celebrated with a growing collection of accolades, including a “Keeping the Blues Alive” award from the Memphis-based Blues Foundation and a “Blues Booster of the Year” award from Canada’s Maple Blues Awards, in addition to recognition from both the Calgary Blues Music Association and the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame.
As we begin a week of celebration of Cam’s incredible career (to date!), on behalf of the whole CKUA family, we warmly congratulate him on this remarkable milestone. As we reflect on Cam’s success and longevity in a demanding and turbulent field, we celebrate the example he’s set for us all. We look forward to enjoying his craft for many years to come.