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A CKUA Day in the Life: Karen Howell, Community Engagement Manager

Community Profiles

When we listen to the radio, it’s easy to imagine the host chatting into the microphone and doing … something … on a computer to keep it all moving. However, it takes a whole crowd (working from home, of course; crowds are dangerous!) of knowledgeable, creative people (and some pretty fancy technology) to create each second you hear.

During the month of May we want to reveal all the human effort that goes into an hour of CKUA programming. Your donations throughout our Spring Fundraiser help support so many different things you may not even know about!

Let’s check out a day in the CKUA life of Karen Howell, Community Engagement Manager.

My name is Karen Howell and I’ve worked in a variety of roles at CKUA since I started in July 2010. This includes Web Editor, Grants Writer, Marketing Coordinator, Traffic Coordinator fill-in, Copywriter fill-in, Events and Volunteer Manager, co-host of two weeks of Twilight, and currently Community Engagement Manager.

Anywhere between 7:30am and 9:30am I arrive at ‘work’ – which means walking from my kitchen to my home office, and then wrapping my day up anywhere between 4:30pm and 8:30pm!

Once at my desk, my days are divided not so much by time as by task. Some days I might spend the bulk of my day in meetings, other days my calendar’s clear and I can do a deep dive into more complex projects.

Our Events and Volunteer program has been decimated by the pandemic, so I’ve had to change course, but look forward to resuming our volunteer activities in particular. I find that each of these roles has informed the other, and I am intensely grateful for the relationships I’ve built through each of these roles. I adore all of my colleagues, and appreciate their dedication and professionalism and commitment to this quirky little place.

As a member of the External Relations department, I am involved with a number of different initiatives. At the moment, my core work comprises managing three gloriously talented and lovely staff members, administering our donated hours program, and collaborating on our on-air storytelling (for example, our clips that featured One Good Thing, Jamuary, Transmitter Tales, etc).  But I also have my hand in a number of other tasks, including internal communications, policy, and of course our biannual fundraisers.

There is so much more that goes on at CKUA than just what we hear on air. The things that most impress me about this place are first and foremost the community of listeners/volunteers. We are the grateful beneficiaries of their work and commitment.

I’m honoured to work alongside a team of announcers who are top of the craft, some of whom have become very dear friends. My colleagues are quirky, passionate, inventive and nimbly adapt time and again to any demands, both routine and unpredictable.

And I am part of something greater than all of us – something that began as an academic idea in 1927, and quickly became its own unique living thing. Who could have predicted the unlikely survival of this community collaboration, almost one hundred years later?