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Donating to CKUA isn’t a “nice-to-have.” It’s essential.


As you know, CKUA provides a valuable and essential public service that is free to access by everyone, but did you know:

1. The University of Alberta does not fund CKUA. Our call letters are “UA,” but we don’t receive student fees or university funding. We started at the U of A in 1927 but became part of the Government of Alberta in the 40s.

2. The government does not fund CKUA. From the ’40s until 1997, we were part of the Government of Alberta. In 1997, we were decommissioned and reborn as a professional, independent, donor-supported entity.

Today, if you live outside Alberta, not a single cent of your tax dollars supports CKUA. Each Albertan contributes $0.013 (yes, 1.3 cents) of their provincial tax to CKUA through an operating grant. Compare this with operational funding for the CBC ($33.52 per Canadian) * and many of your favourite non-profit music, film, and arts festivals that curate and present the artists you discover on CKUA ($0.20 per Albertan on average) * and our playing field is a little unbalanced.

3. Advertising doesn’t fund CKUA. Commercial radio sells endless commercials to support their business. To provide you with a decidedly non-commercial listening experience, we have a select group of businesses and arts organizations that align with our values and partner with us to advertise on CKUA. However, because our business model relies on charitable contributions, we are legally capped at how much advertising we can sell (6 minutes/hour).

4. Real estate doesn’t fund CKUA. CKUA owns the Alberta Hotel in Edmonton as our broadcast and administrative home. While we do rent space out to office tenants, the building is intended to offset our operating costs. The result is we pay less to own than we would to rent, but it does not make us profit. Today, the post-COVID real estate market has effectively collapsed in downtown Edmonton, meaning the Alberta Hotel is costing us money.

We can’t increase the cost of free. Most for-profit businesses and non-profit cultural organizations pass on the increasing cost of doing business to their customers through price increases. In CKUA’s case, how do you pass on a price increase for something people can access for free? Right now, runaway inflation and rising fixed costs are impacting every business. CKUA is no different. This year, that increase is 15%, or almost a million dollars.

You are the difference between CKUA being on the air and not being on the air. Without the ability to charge admission to CKUA, all we can do is ask you to opt in and contribute however much moves you in support of this vital service to so many people. It’s easy to assume someone else will take care of supporting CKUA because we’ve always been here. But now, more than ever, we are counting on more listeners like you to donate.

Donating to CKUA isn’t a “nice-to-have.” It’s essential. Without government funding and advertising, you and your fellow donors make all the difference in the lives touched by CKUA. Why? Well the reasons are many.

  • CKUA supports local, emerging, and touring musicians by playing their music.
  • CKUA reaches the whole province and beyond through a network of transmitter sites and online streaming.
  • CKUA offers musical variety and original programming, curated by real people who have real community connections.
  • CKUA shares timely and vibrant arts and culture coverage, through interviews, live broadcasts, and festival visits.
  • CKUA contributes to our collective wellness and connection by inviting people to be a part of this authentic, welcoming community.

Thank you for listening and choosing to make a one-time donation, or joining me as a monthly donor of CKUA.

Marc Carnes
CKUA CEO, and monthly donor


*based on audited financial reports from 2018-19 pre-COVID disruption years