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.
With this ongoing series we want to reveal all the human effort that goes into an hour of CKUA programming. Your donations help support so many different things you may not even know about!
Let’s check out a day in the life of Marc Carnes, CKUA CEO:
I joined CKUA in 2017. I spend every day in pursuit of our mission to be Alberta’s Voice for Music, Arts and Culture. I get to do it with an amazing community of people who share a belief that music, art and culture are essential to personal and societal wellbeing.
What does a day in the life look like? It’s cliché, but it’s true – no two days are alike. Am I working from home or the office? In Edmonton or Calgary? The most challenging decisions these days: sweatpants vs. jeans.
My workday usually starts before my feet hit the floor. Coffee, phone, curled up with my dog Pratt checking emails and catching up on industry blogs and news.
8:30am: Leadership – Our leadership team meets almost every day to check in and discuss emergent priorities. It’s an important touchpoint while working remotely and navigating so much change in a multi-channel, multi-media landscape.
From there, my day can go in any number of directions. If I made it into a single day, in no particular order, I’d be dabbling in the following:
9:30am: People – With people representing more than 20 specialty areas committed to presenting 126 hours of new weekly programming, podcasts, features and online content, a 40-hour workweek doesn’t exist at CKUA. As such, people’s needs are vast and varied.
Distractions – I try to take a few short breaks a day to shift focus. It’s a chance for me to get caught up in the world and follow the conversations online related to CKUA and the arts and culture community.
10:30am: Programming – Whether it’s audience trends and feedback, Can-Con and CKUA standards compliance, content development, host recruitment and development, schedule changes or technical systems, there is always something for the team to be working on. For instance, discussions are currently focused on professional development and recruitment.
11:30am: Technical Operations – 16 transmitter sites, a massive IT infrastructure, two studios, and an office building running 24/7 takes on a life of its own, especially with an astounding 99.7% uptime rate. Significant projects like trying to sort out how to create on-demand radio require a lot of time and attention from our technical team over and above everyday systems management.
12:30 pm Lunch: When it’s safe again, I’ll be all over lunch meetings and supporting the fantastic restaurants close to CKUA studios.
1:30pm: Finance and Admin – CKUA regularly reports to, and has to be compliant with, twelve federal, provincial and municipal bodies. Our Finance and Administration team spends much time on financial, regulatory and HR discussions and decisions. For instance, this year, we have to renew our CRTC license, a massive one-in-seven-year process.
2:30pm: Board of Directors – CKUA is governed by a passionate and committed group of volunteers. In addition to regular reporting, together, we set the direction for the future. We spot the opportunities and obstacles that will set our trajectory. This year, for instance, we are implementing a new strategic plan and will start putting thoughts to paper for CKUA’s 100th anniversary in 2027.
Listening – When I’m free, I’m tuning in. As I write this, Tony just played Your Rocky Spine by Great Lake Swimmers. Nice. If I’m at home, I listen through my Google smart speaker. At work, I’m streaming. In the car, it’s FM.
3:30pm: Connecting with donors, listeners and stakeholders – Whether it’s writing an article like this one, picking up the phone or jumping on a Zoom call, working with our External Relations team to promote CKUA is a lot of fun. For instance, after I hit send on this article, I’ll call donors to say thanks for contributing to the spring fundraising campaign. Love it.
5:00pmish: Pratt, my wife Christy, and I hit the dog park and unpack the day. No matter how good or bad the day turns out, I can turn on CKUA, and all is well. I’m reminded daily of the privilege we have in bringing joy to people’s lives thanks to the generous support of our community. It’s a great feeling