This Saturday, March 20th, long-time volunteer programmer Doug Lang (also known as Duke) will air the 1000th episode of Better Days! We chat with Duke to find out what makes him tick and why he continues to volunteer his time with Vancouver Co-op Radio.

Why did you start volunteering at Co-op Radio?

I'd done a jazz show at SFU, volunteered to sub as a host of The Jazz Forum, and eventually became full-time host of that program. At the turn of the century, having resumed my own performing career as a songwriter, I made the difficult decision to change the show to Better Days and move to a folk-roots format.


When did you realize your love for folk, roots and country music?

When I began my performing career, I was blessed to meet so many artists I admired -- Kate Wolf, Rosalie Sorrels, Elizabeth Cotten, Christy Moore, Dick Gaughan, Willie P. Bennett and Mimi Farina among them. When I started Better Days, my idea was to honour the artists I'd come to know in my travels, share their music and stories.


What was the first record you ever bought for yourself?

Long ago, I was working in a soap plant and had just bought a little component stereo. The first records I ever bought with my hard-earned money were Van Morrison's Moondance, The Band's Music From Big Pink, and James Taylor's Sweet Baby James. I remember the day.


Why do you continue to volunteer your time as a programmer for Co-op Radio?

I love doing radio, creating shows, combining different musics, introducing listeners to things they might not otherwise hear. Since CFRO began streaming on the internet I've worked hard to develop an international audience. When traveling, I'd leave leaflets in various cities' libraries and music stores, advertising Better Days and Co-Op Radio. One show, going by the online chat and emails that I received, I counted listeners from a dozen countries. That was sweet, warmed my heart.


What is your fondest memory of programming at Co-op Radio?

My best memories are related to the people I've met through Co-Op Radio. Fellow programmers, visiting artists, staff... all part of the story. Many of them are gone now, have died or gone on to other things. I'm grateful for their friendships, camaraderie, and shared knowledge. To quote the Grateful Dead, what a long strange trip it's been. And worth it, every step of the way.


Here's what just a few of Duke's listeners had to say.....

Every Saturday starts with Better Days here in Crescent Beach. Not only do I swing and sway, but I learn so much from your shows. I’m adding Riverside Drive to my listing routine too. Thanks for sharing your vast repertoire. ~ Graham M.

Doug's show "Better Days" feels like family. Every show is like being greeted by a loving musical family feeding my tired soul.   Congratulations to my dear friend Doug. ~ Love Bev K

Duke plays a variety of music that expands my listening experience. He tells the stories of the artists he plays as well as his own personal tidbits. His spirit shines and is reflected in the worldwide group he brings together weekly. ~ Robbin M

I got to know Doug when I was fortunate to play drums on his "Norway Sessions", recorded during his visits to Norway. I have been a regular listener to Better Days since 2018. His inexhaustible knowledge of music and artists never ceases to amaze me, and in every show he plays great songs I have never heard from artists I have never heard of. He is a living music lexicon, and I have become much richer musically through his friendship and Better Days. He's the sweetest soul and I love him dearly! ~ With best regards LC Ovesen

With respect to Doug Lang and Better Days, there is likely nothing else that would cause me to rise up on Saturday mornings at 7:00 AM. Doug’s thoughtful choice of a combination of folk, blues and country music interspersed with background information on the musicians and an occasional poetry reading are a welcome departure from today’s formulaic radio programming. True to form, the program is also aptly named - Saturday being the first of the weekend’s two Better Days. Hopefully the Better Days program continues well past the upcoming 1,000th show.  ~ Brian F

I love Duke Lang’s “Better Days” programme on Vancouver Co-op Radio. His selections of music is second to none! Both the well loved favourites and his introductions to less well known artists. His selections are superb. There are many of us from all over the world who regularly meet on Duke’s FB Page to share his tastes in music and in friends! The Highlight of my week. Congratulations Duke, upon your 1,000th show. ~ Love to all, Res

Congratulations Doug today and everyday for all that you have done and are doing to bring musical enjoyment to our ears.  We have been listening to and enjoying your program, via the internet, for over fifteen years. You are continually introducing me to new artists and their music that I had never been exposed to before.  We trust that you will continue to surprise us for years to come.  All the Best Doug. From a faithful listener. ~ Mel from Grand Forks.

That voice, the sun, and the ride down Main Street to the studio: that's what I think of when I think of Doug and Better Days. I had a short lived show on cycling in Vancouver in the 9 am slot so I'd prime myself for my show by listening to Doug on Saturday mornings. That voice was perfectly smooth and calm and assured. It'd calm my nerves. In person, Doug was just like that voice - calm and smooth and reassuring. We had a few chats about the prairies, Iranian food, and teaching. And when we didn't get a chance to talk in the morning, I felt alright just by giving him a wave through the studio window before I went on air. I admire Doug for his dedication to a show and a passion for music and radio. It takes a long time to get a voice like that and to get to a number like 1000. I'd like to thank him for just being a nice guy who made me feel good and connected every week. And he still makes me feel connected. I've relocated from Vancouver to Inuvik, in the Northwest Territories. A few weeks ago I sat in my study with the same kind of morning sun filling up the room. This is Better Days sun, I thought. I still had some time that morning to find 100.5 FM online and to think back about some better days. I miss that ride down Main and the sight of Doug behind the mic on Saturday mornings. Saturday morning sun will always be associated with that voice even up here in the Far North. Thanks Doug! ~ Mike B
There’s no nicer way to start a Saturday morning than listening to Duke’s show. He is like a gentle ray of sunshine. Brilliant in many ways and so thoughtful and supportive of all of us, whether we’re musical or not. Almost every Saturday, I’m introduced to a musician or song I haven’t heard before. And I’ve made friends with other listeners as we all gather ‘round to listen. Congratulations, Duke, and thanks for drawing us near as you do!  Looking forward to the next 1,000! ~ Susan T
I met Doug Lang back in 2004 on the far flung prairies of Austin, Texas. With his Stetson, bolo, chaps and bespoke lasso he fit right in. No one had the least inkling he was a non-native; his ostentatious maple leaf tattoo notwithstanding.  A Musical Intuitive with an ear for the ages and an eye on the spectral peripherals; Doug's deft selections will amplify your joy and ameliorate your misery. Paganmaestro, aural alchemist and songwriter nonpareil. Congratulations on your millennial broadcast. I'm all ears. ~ Philip W, Fort Worth, Texas.

Thanks to Co-op Radio, Duke is in my early morning weekend, introducing me to wonderful musicians with his warm appreciation & knowledge of their background. Duke, I'm looking forward to send you another email for your 2,000th show! ~ Elizabeth M.  

Duke, on behalf of all the staff and volunteers at Co-op Radio, THANK YOU for your work and dedication to Better Days and Vancouver Co-op Radio! We really appreciate you!

Don't miss Dukes 1000th episode of Better Days coming up this Saturday March 20th at 7am PST. Tune in on 100.5FM or stream at

If you miss it, don't worry, catch the replay here: