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A CKUA Day in the Life: Natalie Cook, Grants Coordinator & Creative Writer

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 Natalie Cook, Grants Coordinator & Creative Writer

I’m Natalie Cook, and I’ve worked as a writer at CKUA since 2018. I write grant applications, reports, and many of the on-air messages you hear when you listen to CKUA. Every day is different, but I’m happy to have the chance to take you through a typical workday with me.

7:30am – 8:30am: The golden hour. I have two teenagers who are doing online school, so I use the time before they wake up to answer email. I check deadlines and correspond with our development team, to determine which clients’ ads need to be prepared for production. I also send emails to clients: did the draft of that on-air ad work for them, or would they like changes?

8:30am – 10:30am: Writing time. Creating a script that serves the client well is always my goal. Whether we’re telling the world about a great Alberta business or announcing a band’s latest album release, I want to connect the CKUA audience with messages that are clear and compelling.

10:30am – Noon: Meetings. Late mornings tend to be prime time for CKUA teams to meet. “Why so many meetings?” is a question that we’ve probably all asked since COVID began, but these online meetings help us set goals and exchange ideas. Planning a fundraiser, finding new clients, thinking about what Festival Radio will look like—these are all initiatives that roll out better when planned by a group of passionate people who all bring their ideas to the (virtual) table.

Noon – 1:00pm: Lunch. By noon, I’m ready for a break, and besides, my kids are noisy, so I leave my “office” (the dining room table) to join them for lunch in the kitchen. This pandemic is full of annoyances and losses, but I will always be grateful for the chance to eat lunch and talk with my boys every day throughout this time. Besides, we really should not be eating lunch at our computers. Turn your keyboard upside down and just look at how many crumbs fall out. All of us think that we eat neatly, and all of us are wrong about this.

1:00pm – 2:00pm: Moving from drafts to finalized scripts. I use the early afternoon to send approved scripts along to production. Client ads, album giveaways, and CKUA’s own on-air messages all have scripts that have to be timed down to the second. Once they are finalized, I send them to Sharon Cross, CKUA’s unflappable Traffic Coordinator, who sends them to Production and schedules them.

2:00pm – 4:00pm: Grants work. CKUA is always on the lookout for granting organizations whose community goals align with ours. Family foundations, various levels of government, and community foundations have been generous investors in CKUA’s projects over the years, and we are eager to tell them CKUA’s story, to determine whether we would be a good fit to garner their support. Grant applications require cogent writing, and (shudder) detailed budgets.

4:00pm – ??: Winding down. My day and my energy level are usually done by around 4:00, but I will check emails or tinker with ad scripts in the evenings.

As I said, every day is different at CKUA. It’s always interesting work, with some pretty amazing colleagues. If you’re a business owner who wants to tell our audience about your product or services, let us know. I’ll try to write an ad that makes your message ring out. And obviously, if you run a community granting organization and you’d like to give us a million dollars, you can get in touch, too.