Calgary music television pioneer Mike Bezzeg returns with YouTube series InnerView after 35-year hiatus

Once upon a time in long ago days when a little city called Calgary had only recently graduated from having three channels to 12, back when the stockyards were still within walking distance of the drab Cowtown downtown, there was a fabled TV station called Cable 10. Most of the stuff on the channel was shit, pure and simple, amateurish and of interest to no one but the program host’s mother, but all was not lost.

On a normal, mind and soul-numbing suburban-stuck evening in 1979, a phone rang (there was only one for the whole household of six people, imagine that you greenies) while a family finished a roast beef dinner (after all, it was Sunday), and the youngest teenager, informed by a friend on the other end of the phone of the spectre to behold, left her family basking in the afterglow of Disney to sneak into a far room with only a tiny, black-and-white TV. On Cable 10, a miracle was happening. She held her breath. How could this be real?

Filmed with sketchy quality and looking ghostly on the old TV was a video for Wings’ Winter Rose/Love Awake from their Back to the Egg album, an album hated by critics (Rolling Stone called it, aptly, “just about the sorriest grab bag of dreck in recent memory”) but beloved by the two friends on the phone, who happened to have formed a Led Zeppelin/Wings cover band (yep, gigs were scarce for some reason.) 

And after the video was over, there was this guy with glasses talking. About music. Lots of talk about lots of music. At times, he seemed pretty out there. And, so was the music. Thankfully. While the radio of the day was filled with the puerile sounds of Billy Joel and Anita Ward (and radio it was — this was years before MTV, MuchMusic, and decades before YouTube and Spotify), host Mike Bezzeg, later joined by irascible Calgary Albertan (which became The Sun) and later Calgary Herald music critic James Muretich, would provide offerings from The Boomtown Rats, Iggy Pop, Nash the Slash, XTC, Bauhaus, Rank & File and many more. 

Suffice to say, that phone call and moment changed the two friends’ lives. They now understood that there were others out there, who, like them, were tired of being force-fed The Eagles.

Judging by the fact people still recognize Bezzeg on the street 40 years after the show, FM Moving Pictures, first aired (he also created a predecessor, Music in Review, and a follow-up, ChromaKey Kids), and by the fact that the Facebook group You Know You Grew Up in Calgary When … routinely has threads pining for the show, a lot of other phones were ringing and similar excited conversations were happening all through the city on Sunday nights when the new episodes aired. Someone has even suggested that if sportscaster Ed Whalen was, at the time, Calgary’s most recognizable media personality, Bezzeg, who hosted the show from 1979 to 1984, was a close second.

Over the years after Bezzeg, who worked in several record stores around Calgary, stopped creating the show and moved on to found a record label, produce music, work selling stereos, and have a family, but what remained constant was strangers approaching him and asking him when he would do another show. 

Well, the answer, finally, is now. His new production, InnerView with Mike Bezzeg, went online on Nov. 14, and within two days had over 400 views. The first season, which Bezzeg says will consist of nine episodes, features local guitar god and producer Russell Broom, Calgary’s musical diplomat Tom Phillips, and Canadian underground legend Art Bergmann, among others.

Mike Bezzeg

The show will give familiar tingles to long-time fans of FM Moving Pictures. Always an interesting interviewer, Bezzeg’s style has gained maturity (well, it would have to after so many years) and the wonderful production touches that were his trademark are there in force, professional enough to be intriguing but not so polished that all the soul is sucked out. Bezzeg credits producer Dave Veitch, who was a music writer for The Calgary Sun for decades, for this, and in spite of decades of pleas from fans, he also credits Veitch, not them, for InnerView’s existence.

“David was always gung-ho for it, back when I first brought it up, about a year and a half ago,” Bezzeg says in a phone interview from his Calgary home. “It took Veitch getting on board to get this thing actually happening. He’s been amazing. I mean, the amount of hours he puts in editing every episode, and now he’s taking care of social media, he’s trying to set up interviews for me.

“Him coming on board was what this project needed for this to happen.”

So why now? “You know what, my kids are grown. Back in the day, when I was working for Sony I was offered a six-figure job to be a salesman for this company that sold control panels for police stations and airports and stuff like that, so I would be traveling the world for two weeks each month, and I turned it down.

“(I thought) my kids are so young; there’s no way I’m going to be away for half of their growing up. I just can’t miss that. (Now) Aja’s 20, Christian’s 18. I’ve even recruited him to be one of the camera guys, keeping it in the family.

“Getting back to the main question. Number one, I really still think that there’s a need for it, and number two, I think I can do it better.”

Bezzeg cites his life up to this point as the reason he thinks he can do it better. Aside from creating and hosting three shows, he taught English to newcomers, took two years of classes with Theatre Calgary, spent a few years taking voice at the Calgary Music Conservatory, produced records, founded a record label, spent 19 years with Sony learning the technical end, and raised a family. “All the things I’ve done, I’ve got more length going on. Back then I was what, twenty-something years old. I was just a snotty heap of parrot droppings back then. All the things I’ve done (are) going to make me a better interviewer.”

Bezzeg also has an encyclopedia-like knowledge of rock and pop music, but one other key asset is his heart. It has connected him to people and he has connected people to each other for decades. “I really love people. I’ve always been like that, even when people were fucking with my brain when people would walk into the record store. I was so accessible, people would walk in and say tell me about this record, tell me about this, then they’d say, ‘Thanks Mike.’ I’d think, ‘They know who I am.’ ”

One change from the old days is choice. “Without exception, every single person I’ve talked to so far I have a deep respect for. Unlike the old days when it was this guy is coming through and this band is coming through and you probably should interview them, it’s completely different. Nobody on this show isn’t liked by me. I like every person on it I’ve talked to so far, and that’s not going to change.”

New episodes will arrive every two weeks. Some forthcoming shows will feature New Mexico’s The Handsome Family, eclectic musician Tona Walt Ohama and even Olympic gold medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury.

“We’ve got Mark Tewksbury talking about music. And I want to do more of those, people who have nothing to do with music talking about music. Music is a unifying force, unlike politics and religion, music brings people together.”

Watch InnerView at and listen to the Scene In the Wild Podcask interview with Mike Bezzeg here.

(Photos courtesy David Kotsibie.)

Mary-Lynn Wardle is a Bragg Creek writer who hates writing. Don’t ask her to write any more.