Programmer Spotlight: Mike Tod

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Every week this summer, CJSW takes you behind the mic in the booth to spotlight one of our amazing programmers. With the Calgary Folk Music Festival taking over Prince’s Island Park this weekend, Mike Tod of The Folk Song Hour — airing Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. — was a no-brainer. Mike chatted about “girl cheese” and rap as folk music. Interview by Melanie Woods.

What program do you host and what does it focus on?

I host a program called The Folk Song Hour, and I focus on old-time and folk musics from all over the world, but primarily North America.

So how do you choose what you play? 

I have — on my Itunes on my laptop — 15,000 songs. I’ve amassed that over years of spending hours in the CJSW library or getting it through friends or getting it through websites, buying it online, things like that. And I select from there every week. I put my Itunes on random as I cook and I just put my favourite ones into a playlist for the week.

How would you define “folk” music?

So there is no actual definition for “folk music.” There are many, just like there are people, just like there are folks. So some people define folk music as the music of the folk, the music of the people. So that could include rap and DJ music because that’s peoples music too. Some people define it by a feeling that you get. Big Bill Broonzy — he’s this old blues guy — was asked how he knew the song that he was singing was a folk song. And he said “I’ve never heard a horse sing it.” I do not have a definition for it.

How long have you hosted the show for?

I started last September. So 10 months.

What is you favourite thing about CJSW?

That’s a really good question. The people, probably, that I’ve met at CJSW and through CJSW. It’s connected me to musical communities in Calgary that, if you weren’t in the know or you weren’t around here, I wouldn’t have known they existed. And I’m grateful for that.

What is your favourite sandwich?

I’ll give you two answers. When I was a kid my favourite sandwich was a grilled cheese. and I thought it was called a “girl cheese” until I was 21 years old and somebody corrected me. That’s a super long time.

But today my favourite sandwich is probably a pulled pork sandwich. The Palomino has a really good pulled pork sandwich.

Check out Mike’s show The Folk Song Hour, airing Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. on CJSW 90.9 FM, and online at

The Folk Song Hour