—Synopsis —

A one-hour documentary about the unforgettable crusade to save CKUA,Canada’s oldest non-profit broadcaster and a pioneer on our radio scene.

World Television Premire On Bravo!

To view the opening 2 minute clip go to video page.

Broadcasting from Edmonton,Alberta since 1927,CKUA has launched the careers of many talented announcers and musicians — and fostered fiercely loyal fans.Radio Worth Fighting For tells the CKUA story by interweaving three themes:

  • The Music played on CKUA
  • The History of the station
  • The Fight to get CKUA back on the air after it was shut down in 1997

THE MUSIC is at the heart of Radio Worth Fighting For .The film highlights the amazingly eclectic music played on CKUA by featuring the live performances of 37 musical acts.Filmed while performing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival,up-close in the CKUA studios,or at various theatre venues,the all-star line-up of musicians includes:Ricky Skaggs ,Buffy Sainte- Marie,Bruce Cockburn,Kiran Ahluwalia,The University of Alberta Symphony Orchestra, Mose Allison,The Mahotella Queens,Bomba!,Blackie and the Rodeo Kings,Jim Cuddy,Roy Forbes,Janiva Magness,Pete Seeger,Daniel Lanois,Sylvia Tyson performing with Quartette, and many more.This music is reflective of the wide range of programming found on CKUA, and is what attracts CKUA listeners who shun the formatted programming found on commercial radio.

THE HISTORY of CKUA is shared through fascinating archival photos,stock footage of events at the station,and storytelling by colourful CKUA staff alumni.These include actor- singer Robert Goulet;musician turned senator Tommy Banks;and John Worthington, “The Old Disc Jockey,”who has worked at the station since 1949.

THE FIGHT chronicles the long odds and serious struggle facing CKUA’s staff and supporters after the radio station fell silent in 1997 due to government cutbacks,questionable management practices,and bureaucratic bungling.Passionate interviews with CKUA staff,volunteers and listeners are combined with footage of television news reports from the time of the shutdown. These scenes paint a compelling picture of people of all ages,classes and tastes banding together on a crusade to get their favorite community treasure back on the air.

Radio Worth Fighting For ends on a high note!We witness how CKUA launches the novel idea of subscription radio.Two-thirds of the annual budget now comes from radio-loving donors in Canada,and others from around the world who listen via the Internet —to the tune of five million hits each month!All of this made possible because of the valiant efforts of the staff, 1200 volunteers and 7,600 on-going subscribers.Radio Worth Fighting For celebrates the music and the on-going fight to keep CKUA a vibrant presence on the airwaves.

Radio Worth Fighting For is narrated by singer/songwriter Cindy Church,draws on research by Marylu Walters,author of the book CKUA,Radio Worth Fighting For (U of A Press), and is produced by Lorna Thomas Productions Inc.

—The Musicians —

(In the order they appear in the film)

Blackie and The Rodeo Kings —Colin Linden,Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson — are a Juno award-winning combo of successful solo artists,collectively steeped in blues,rock and folk sensibilities.

The Mahotella Queens are South Africa’s leading afro-pop vocal group,pioneering Mbaquanga (a synthesis of traditional and South African jazz,American R&B, gospel and soul)in the early 1960s. They are still going strong today.

Mose Allison ,a 40-year road warrior on jazz and blues piano,has been called “a social critic before Dylan,satirical long before Newman and rude long before Jagger.”

Bruce Cockburn is a Canadian and international folk icon,singer- songwriter and humanitarian whose career has been recognized in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame,the Order of Canada and scores of other honours at home and abroad.

Roy Forbes started his career as “Bim” 30 years ago,evolving into a recording and performing artist and songwriting workshop leader that the Toronto Star called “one of the truest troubadours in the Canadian mosaic.”

Sandro Dominelli ,a popular drummer, performing and recording artist and teacher, leads Alberta-based jazz combinations and is a Juno award nominee.

Jim Cuddy is a Juno award-winning solo singer-songwriter and a principal player in the popular band,Blue Rodeo.

Harry Manx blends east and western musical traditions, combining lap-slide guitar with the mohan veena,a 20-string member of the guitar family on which he trained in India for five years.

Ricky Skaggs began playing at the feet of America’s bluegrass masters and enjoyed a huge string of top-ten country hits and Grammy awards before returning to his true love (and more acclaim)with his bluegrass band, Kentucky Thunder.

Mike Seeger is a product of the renowned Seeger musical clan,a renowned traditional folk troubadour and music ethnographer, a six-time Grammy nominee and a founder of the New Lost City Ramblers.

Gaby Haas was a legendary accordionist, composer and bandleader whose Continental Musicale ran on CKUA for more than 40 years.

George Lake was the host of CKUA’s Hawaiian Sunset program from 1949 to 1954, bringing aloha music to Albertans,including original compositions and performances with his own group,The Hawaiians.

Quartette —Caitlin Hanford,Cindy Church, Sylvia Tyson and Gwen Swick —is an electrifying collaboration of four established Canadian artists working in folk,country, swing,bluegrass and traditional music.

Terry Morrison &John Gorham are a folk duo who,respectively,are an acclaimed singer-songwriter “with warmth and integrity” and a bassman-vocalist who has worked solo and in bands,plus musical theatre.

Buffy Sainte Marie is a legendary singer- songwriter,activist,teacher,actor and pioneer in digital arts and music,whose 40-year career has earned her an Academy award for songwriting,a medal from the Queen and scores of other honours.

Daniel Lanois is a 30-year veteran of the music business,a multiple Juno and Grammy award-winner,a solo singer-songwriter, and a producer of U2,Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan and other artists.

Hot Cottage —Steve Boddington,Brian Koehlt,Linsey Umrysh and Mike Yuzwenko — is a popular,veteran blues and boogie band based in Alberta.

Maria Dunn is a Juno-nominated musical storyteller who combines North American folk and country music with influences of her Celtic heritage.

Stewart MacDougall is a 25-year veteran of Alberta’s Western musical scene,composing,recording and performing as a solo artist and with artists such as Laura Vinson,k.d.lang,Ian Tyson, and Great Western Orchestra.

Bill Bourne is an ageless guitarist,singer, songwriter,folk artist and Juno award winner, described as giving “the impression of an 86-year-old bluesman with the energy of a 20-year-old.”

Dave Babcock Quartet is a popular Alberta- based jazz combination.

La Volée d’Castors is a young sextet playing in the traditional French Canadian musical tradition with spirited modern sensitivities.

Malcolm Forsyth has earned national and international recognition as one of Canada’s leading classical composers,enjoying successful careers with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the University of Alberta.

Lionel Rault is a 30-year veteran of Alberta’s music scene who performs individually and with others in the folk-roots tradition,while hosting Lionel’s Vinyls and The R&B Revue on CKUA.

Corb Lund won two 2004 Canadian Country Music Association Awards for Independent Group or Duo of the Year and Roots Artist or Group of the Year with his latest group,The Corb Lund Band.

Tom Russell is a veteran roots,folk and country singer-songwriter in the tradition of the American West,who has worked with artists like Ian Tyson,Sylvia Tyson and Nanci Griffith,and whom Billboard has hailed as a major talent.

Kiran Ahluwalia is a former bond trader turned vocal performer and composer of ghazals and Punjabi folk songs whose latest release,Beyond Boundaries ,won the Juno award for best world music album in 2004.

Janiva Magness is a torrid blues singer, 20-year performing and recording artist and recent WC Handy Award nominee who has been praised in publications such as Billboard and Downbeat.

Dougie McLean is one of Scotland’s most successful,respected and popular musicians, combining talents as a singer-songwriter, composer,guitarist,fiddle player and “magical”performer.

The Co-Dependents —legendary singer- guitarist Billy Cowsill,guitarist-vocalist Steve Pineo and rhythm section Tim Leacock and Ross Watson —are a roots band in the true rock and roll and honkytonk traditions.

Jen Kraatz is a singer,songwriter and guitarist who plays introspective Western blues and folky grooves.

Bomba!has drawn rave reviews for instrumental virtuosity,combining Afro- Cuban,Andean and jazz traditions into a mix that’s already been hailed as coming from among the finest Latin jazz bands in Canada.

Washboard Hank plays an amazing conglomeration of bells,licence plates, duck calls,banjo,kazoo,dobro and guitar, and has been called a cross between Jerry Lewis (not Jerry Lee Lewis)and Stompin’Tom Connors.

— Key Personnel —

Lorna Thomas, Producer, Director, Co-Writer
Lorna is a producer, director and writer of television documentaries,with a special affinity for stories that demonstrate effective socilal action. As well as producing her own work for her company,Lorna Thomas Productions Inc., Lorna has collaborated with other film and video organizations, including the National Film Board of Canada. She directed Stir it Up for the NFB in 1994. Beating the Streetswas a co-production with the NFB and had its television premiere on CBC Newsworld's documentary series Rough Cuts. The Film, which Lorna directed and co-produced, won Best Picture at the Dreamspeakers International Film Festival of 1998.
In 2000 Lorna produced and directed a half-hour documentary about breast cancer for Vision TV. This fill, Phillis'Miricale, won Best Documentary Under 30 minutes at the 2001 AMPIA Awards for excellence in Alberta film production.

In 2002 Lorna Thomas Productions partnered with Trick Rider Productions to produce Pretty Ladies, Fast Horses: Cowgirls of the 21st Century for Global Television. The film won bronze in the sports category at the Houston International Film Festival of 2003.

Lisa Miller, Co-Producer, Associate Director
Lisa has been a storyteller for more than 25 years. For 21 years she worked at CFRN TV in Edmonton as a sportscaster. In that role she produced daily sportscasts, news stories, features and documentaries, including Decade of Champions, finalist for a 1990 Can Pro Award.

Since 1999, she has branched out into the world of independent production, predominately working on documentaries. She produced, directed and wrote the one-hour documentary City of Champions— Century of Excellence. Lisa also collaborated with Lorna Thomas on the production Pretty Ladies, Fast Horses.

Lisa is currently producing a one-hour docu-drama for Craig Media, entitled Catching the Chameleon.

Geo Takachi, Co-Writer, assistant Director

Geo is a writer, performer and emerging producer with credits in print, speeches, radio, and dramatic and documentary television. His accomplishments include multiple prizes for screenwriting, Edmonton’s winning bid for the 2001 World Championships in Athletics, and a nomination for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, which surprised him, as he was sure his last book was serious. He teaches screenwriting in the professional writing program at Grant MacEwan College, conducts workshops for communicators in the public and private sector, and performs comedy and music at conferences and such. He is a member of the Edmonton Arts Council board, chair of its advocacy group, and a past president of the Writers Guild of Alberta.

Cindy Church, Narrator

Cindy Church hails originally from Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, and now lives in Turner Valley, Alberta. She has performed with the Great Western Orchestra, Ian Tyson, as a member of Quartette— and as a solo performer. Her latest CD is Just a Little Rain.

In 1996, she received two Juno nominations (Best Country Female Vocalist and Best Country Group/Duo for her work with Quartette) and an East Coast Music Award nomination for Country Music Artist. She also won 1993 Female Artist of the Year at the Alberta Country Music Awards.

— Program Credits —

Director, Producer
Lorna Thomas

Associate Director, Co-Producer
Lisa Miller

Assistant Director
Geo Takachi

Narration Written by
Geo Takachi
Lorna Thomas

Narrated by
Cindy Church

Micheal Lalonde

Research provideed by
Marylu Walters, Auther
"CKUA:Radio Worth Fighting For"
U of A Press

Executive in charge of production for Bravo!
Charlotte Engel

Director of Photography
Rick Gustavsen

Additional Camera
Danny Baldassare
Lorna Thomas
Ben Coxworth
Wes Doyle
Lisa Miller
Derek Sharplin
Lorna Thomas
Roger Williams
Bruce Wiggins

Production Sound
Jamie Kidd
Brenda Donahue

Production Accountant
Terry Kostek

Production Assistants
Darren Caldwell
Dirk Koetter

DVD Editor
Dustin Lafleur

Music Clearances
Linda Brown
Lorna Thomas

Post Production Sound
Jeremy Sagar

Location thanks
Muttart Conservatory, Bennett Centre, Winspear Centre,
Edmonton Folk Music Festival , Festival Place, Fairmont Hotel MacDonald,
Antiques Alberta, Southside Sound, Walterdale Theatre,
Alberta Infrastructure, The Blind Pig, Riverdale School, The Ukrainian Hall,
Victoria School of the Performing and Visual Arts,
Sidetrack Cafe

News Footage Courtesy of
CBC Television
Global Television Network, a CanWest Company

Stock Footage
Don Thomas
The Alberta Teachers’ Association
Adam Kidd
Company of Women on the Screen
George Christoff/Filmwest
Provincial Archives of Alberta PR 1976.79/3, PR 1983.460/181,
PR1975.132/1, PR 1975.132/2, PR1990.39/1

Archival Photos/Articles
Edmonton Journal
Calgary Herald
Thomas Boldt
Frank Gasparik
Glenbow Museum NA2223-2, NA2223-3, NA2223-4
Edmonton Archives EA 10-1585, EA 600-412b, EA 600-389b, EA 160-1816,
EA 10-113, EA 10-114, EA 160-975,
Provincial Archives of Alberta J329/3, PA 1311/1

Legal Counsel
Linda Callaghan

Post Production Supervisors
Lisa Miller
Lorna Thomas

Post-Production Facitilies
FAVA–The Film and Video Arts Association of Alberta
ACCESS–The Learning Channel, CLT
Kaizen West Productions Inc.

Special thanks to:
CKUA staff and volunteers and board members, SHAW Cable,
Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Paul (Duke) Paetz, Jolyane Motiuk, Richard Tanaka,
Centuries Old Productions/Guy Faulkrand Players, Walterdale Cyrano Performers,
Jill Bonefant, Tito Margiotta, Jack Keech

Sharon Denison

Art Work & Publicity
Claire Verret


“Feel So Good”
Composed & performed by Mose Allison
Courtesy of Audre Mae Music/BMI

“Kina Nadai”
Composed & performed by Kiran Ahluwalia

“Big Boy”
Composed by Dave Babcock
Performed by The Dave Babcock Quartet

Composed by Frederick Bourgeois
Performed by Lavolee d’Castors

“Chaka Chaka”
Composed & performed by Bomba

“Who’s That Knockin’ on My Front Door?”
Composed & performed by Bill Bourne

“Send Someone for Me”
Composed by Cindy Church, Caitlin Hanford
Performed by “Quartette”

“Candyman’s Gone”
Composed & performed by Bruce Cockburn
Golden Mountain Music Corp.

“Second Son”
Composed by Jim Cuddy
Performed by The Jim Cuddy Band

“Shoes of a Man”
Composed & performed by Maria Dunn

“Washboard Boogie”
Performed by Hank Fisher & Lance Loree

“Love Turns to Ice”
Composed & performed by Roy Forbes
Human Condition Music

Composed by Malcolm Forsyth
Performed by The U of A Symphony Orchestra
Counterpoint Musical Services Ltd.

“Immigrant Waltz”
Composed & performed by Gaby Haas

“Off To Mill”
Composed & performed by Jen Kraatz

“Messin’ in the Devil’s Oven”
Composed by Steve Boddington, Brian Koehlt, Linsey Umrysh, Mike Yuzwenko
Performed by Hot Cottage

“Jackie Washington”
Composed by Colin Linden
Performed by Blackie and The Rodeo Kings
Warner Chappel Music, Inc.
Untitled Jam session
Performed by Daniel Lanois and Blackie and The Rodeo Kings

“Hawaiian Sunset”
Composed by George Lake
Performed by George Lake & The Hawaiians

“The Truck Got Stuck”
Composed & performed by Corb Lund

“Track Speed”
Composed by Stewart MacDougall & Mansel Robinson
Performed by Stewart MacDougall
Trouble Clef Music Ltd.

“Coat of Mail”
Composed & performed by Harry Manx
Published by Northern Blues Music

“All Together – All As One”
Performed by Dougie MacLean
Dunkeld Records

“How’d We End Up Here”
Composed by Terry Morrison
Performed by Terry Morrison & John Gorham

“Mississippi Saxophone”
Composed by Steve Pineo
Performed by The Co-Dependents

“Makin’ Money”
Composed by Jeff Turmes
Performed by Janiva Magness Band
Tight Shoes Music/BMI

“Sebai Bai”
Composed by Hilda Tloubatla
Performed by Mahotella Queens
Gallo Record Company: a Division of Gallo Africa Ltd.

“Scrub Bush Flats”
Composed & performed by Lionel Rault

“Muhammad Ali”
Composed by Tom Russell
Performed by Tom Russell and Andrew Hardin
Bug Music Inc. on behalf of Frontera Music (BMI)

“Blow the Horn” (Quills)
“We’re Stole and Sold from Africa” (Harmonica)
“Hop Light Ladies” (Jews Harp)
Performed by Mike Seeger

“Universal Soldier”
Composed & performed by Buffy Sainte-Marie
Universal Music

“Crossin’ the Briney”
Composed and Performed by Ricky Skaggs

“Road to Spencer’’
Composed by Ricky Skaggs
Performed by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
Heartbound Songs Inc.

“Gotham City Blues”
“Blues Plus Four”
Composed by Don Varze
Performed by the Sandro Dominelli Trio
Varze Music Inc.

“God Save the King”
Performed by Debbie Seburn

Produced and Developed in association with
BRAVO! Canada–a Division of CHUM Ltd.

Produced in association with
ACCESS Alberta–The Education Station
Canadian Learning Television
Book Television: The Channel
The Saskatchewan Communications Network

Produced with the participation of
Star Choice Communications Inc.
The Canadian Independent Film and Video
The Alberta Film Development Program of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts
The CanWest Western Independent Producers Fund
Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association/CFCN–Mentorship Program

Produced with the assistance of
The Government of Canada–Canadian Film or Video Tax Credit Program

©2004 Lorna Thomas Productions Inc.


Krystall Dragon Productions / Jimmy Hooper

Co-operative Production

©2000 Lorna Thomas Productions