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“Why does CKUA run ads? It’s a listener-supported station.”

Marc's Mailbag

Every so often, we receive questions from listeners about CKUA. As such, we’re pleased to present Marc’s Mailbag, wherein our CEO/Monthly subscriber/campaign leadership donor, Marc Carnes, answers some of the more interesting queries we’ve received recently. This month’s edition finds Marc speaking about our advertising and financial model.

Question: “Why do we hear advertising on-air if CKUA is listener supported?

With advertising limited to only two minutes per hour, we still receive questions from listeners about why they hear advertising on CKUA. The answer is two-fold: from a balanced financial perspective, it would not be a good idea to turn down revenue from interested advertisers. Secondly, many of our advertisers are also listeners, which is where the “listener supported” aspect can really be amplified.

Since many of the business-owners that we work with are fans themselves, advertising is a means by which they can support CKUA more significantly while doing something good for their company. I’d be hesitant to turn down a fan who wants to support CKUA in the spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit. The goal is to present their messages in authentic ways that complement our programming, and we do this in three different ways.

Advertising and sponsor messages. You will will not hear an ad on CKUA that you can listen to on another station. Our team works with the client to write ads which are voiced by our hosts, creating a familiar sound and style that you identify with. Blasting you with endless commercial radio-sounding advertising would have you reaching for the dial faster than Baba could say, “And a sweet good morning to you.”

Features. Whether through music discovery or the stories behind it, curious minds are drawn to CKUA. That’s why you will hear segments on subjects directly or tangentially tied to our programming. For instance, Indigenous Pathways celebrates the importance of arts, culture and identity. The How of Wow recognizes that creativity brings about technology and innovation. And Notes on Wellness calls attention to the importance of self-care, in which music and the arts can play a powerful role. These are all examples of features presented through partnerships.

Arts and Culture partnership messages. Prior to the pandemic, CKUA would promote and sponsor more than 150 artists, venues, and events annually. In doing so, this helps to promote the creative people and work that add so much vibrancy to our communities. We are proud of our role in exposing artists to new audiences, filling seats, supporting creative sector jobs, and contributing to a rich Canadian cultural context. And we can’t wait for it to return, with a flurry of creative output and social gatherings. (Remember those?)

What’s more, we want you to love the community-minded businesses we love. By presenting our advertising and sponsor messages the way we do, recent surveys have shown that nearly 90% of listeners would shop at a business seen as supporting CKUA.

To build a thriving community takes all kinds. We appreciate the organizations we get to work with and who share the same values as those of our audience. When done right, it’s a beautiful relationship.

Shameless sales plug: If you represent a business and would like to share your love of music, arts and culture across Alberta and beyond, we’d love to hear from you!