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CKUA and 40 wondrous years of radio


“The walls [of CKUA] were draped with burlap sacking which, by the way, had been purchased for $25.00 from a local brewery. The station contained a grand piano plus an assortment of chairs. With all this done, the new station was ready for business.”
CKUA and 40 wondrous years of radio

Joe McCallum, CKUA announcer and author of CKUA and 40 wondrous years of radio, ca. 1950.

Written and printed in 1967 by CKUA announcer Joe McCallum, CKUA and 40 wondrous years of radio reflects on four decades of innovative programming, changing technology, and colourful radio personalities. This booklet, and subsequent milestone publications, acknowledges that CKUA understands that although radio is ephemeral by nature, it is something that has permanently changed the world.

While CKUA and 40 wondrous years of radio focused on exploring CKUA’s history, it did take a page to make numerous forecasts about the future of radio. While the moon-based radio stations it envisioned have yet to be realized, several predictions have come true with alarming accuracy.

“Miniature circuits now permit transceivers to be placed into a fantastically small area, so we may all be permanently ‘tuned in’ as well as able to talk and receive via our personal wavelength on our wrist radios.”

The predictions continue…

“Music will always be with us but we may have to adjust to the electronic cadenzas of the computer-and recorded music may be played back via laser, eliminating any possibility of surface noise or distortion.”

In the time since CKUA first went on the air in 1927, and this booklet was published in 1967, incredible changes have occurred in the music industry and in radio-yet CKUA has remained a constant. The advent of smart phones and internet radio today connects listeners from across the globe to CKUA’s distinctive sound. Given the current trajectory of communication technology, there’s no telling what the future holds for radio and CKUA.

“All CKUA pioneers had the strong conviction that radio could be a tremendous force in the field of adult education.”
CKUA and 40 wondrous years of radio

Front cover page of CKUA and 40 wondrous years of radio. This pristine copy was sent into CKUA by a listener in the summer of 2016.
Written in 1967, CKUA and 40 wondrous years of radio predicted how communication technology would evolve in the late 20th century and beyond.

References and Further Reading

Alberta Educational Communications Corporation. A sound for all seasons: CKUA’s 60th anniversary. Edmonton: Access Network, Alberta Educational Communications Corporation, 1987.

CKUA. Five Decades in Five Days.

McCallum, Joe. CKUA and 40 wondrous years of radio. Edmonton, 1967.

Walters, Marylu. CKUA Radio Worth Fighting For. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2002.

Researched and written by historian Anna M. Rebus, BA, BA, MA, MA (in progress)