During the '50s, hosts from 12
different countries provided music and information about their homelands
in their native tongue on a rotating basis on Fridays and Sundays.
Represented among them were Denmark, Scotland, England, Ireland, Hungary,
Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, Germany, Poland and Wales.
Nor would the First Nations people of Northern Alberta be ignored: on
Sundays, broadcast in Cree, programming for Cree and Métis listeners was
But perhaps no show had the fame - or certainly longevity - of Continental
Musicale, hosted by Edmonton polka king Gaby Haas, who over his career
recorded more than 50 albums. The accordionist had emigrated from
Czechoslovakia in 1939, and later that year began his radio career on CKUA
performing with a small band.
For 21 years, he hosted the German program each Sunday, and performed live
on another show called The Sourdoughs. In 1946, Continental Musicale hit
the airwaves, with a musical selection from Haas' own 50,000-plus record
collection, spanning the realm of classical, pop and folk music from
By 1986, the show could not only spin records, but also make records. On
Sept. 21, Haas, who also maintained a recording, television and club
performance career, had been the host of the longest-running radio program
with the same host and producer in the world. Its unbroken run of 2,081
shows at that point had moved it ahead of a Wellington, New Zealand