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Marc’s Mailbag Fundraising Edition: Let’s Amplify CKUA!

Marc's Mailbag

Every so often, we receive questions from listeners about what goes on at CKUA, behind the scenes. As such, we’re pleased to present Marc’s Mailbag, wherein our CEO, Marc Carnes, who is also a monthly subscriber and leadership donor, answers some of the more interesting queries we’ve received recently. This month’s special edition finds Marc speaking on our fall 2021 fundraising campaign and its call to amplify CKUA.

Dear members of the CKUA community, 

We are busily getting ready to Amplify CKUA this fall with your support. But, before we do, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the many ways our community of supporters helped Amplify CKUA over the past year.   

On the surface, the numbers are mind-boggling. However, they are only possible because of the dollars our listeners donate: 

  • 8,736 hours of broadcasting across Alberta and around the world through 16 FM transmitters and digital streaming platforms. 
  • 31 professional and engaging hosts curating and presenting a wide variety of top-notch music and arts programming for you to discover
  •  A professional staff representing more than 16 specialties and disciplines. Together, they operate a modern, province-wide, made-in-Alberta media enterprise with a global audience of tens of thousands of listeners each day. 

When you dig a little deeper, you start to appreciate the ingredients needed to make that happen. We are a charitable non-profit. It is a sector that comes with stereotypes about getting by with the bare minimum of everything. But unlike most charities, we operate and compete for listeners and customers in a sophisticated, borderless, well-funded, high-tech and highly regulated commercial music and media industry. Charity or not, we have to pay our way just like a for-profit business and are held to those standards by a dozen regulators and professional bodies. It means: 

  • We run a network of transmitters and studios that use 500 homes/month in power equivalent.  
  • We pay credit card fees to process nearly 90,000 donor credit card transactions every year.  
  • We pay SOCAN fees, high-bandwidth streaming and satellite uplink fees, IT security and license fees, and rent, utilities and taxes of a business with the equivalent of one HQ and 17 field offices (16 transmitter locations and our Calgary studio). The list goes on.  

These annual investments are necessary to deliver the programs you want to hear and connect you with the music and the hosts you love, wherever you are, whenever you turn on CKUA.  

But it’s not about maintaining the status quo. If we do, the world will walk right by and not think twice. So, over the past year, we also made investments in the music, arts, and culture community and the future, including: 

  • Recruiting, training and introducing you to new and talented CKUA hosts representing the future of CKUA, including Dawn Pemberton and Kate Stevens. 
  • Providing internship training opportunities for six aspiring media and journalism professionals from SAIT, NAIT and MacEwan University  
  • Introducing you to hundreds of new and emerging Albertan and Canadian artists 
  • Presenting those artists alongside some of the best from around the world.  
  • Sharing our airwaves with more than 165 musicians, artists and festivals from established, emerging and diverse communities through our interviews, newsletters and digital content. When COVID took away their ability to tell their stories, CKUA was there to keep them connected to a community of passionate music and art lovers. No other province in Canada has a CKUA equivalent – this was only happening in Alberta.  
  • Investing nearly $200,000 to replace our Drumheller transmitter, keeping rural communities and a valued part of our province connected through music, arts and culture. 
  • Invested nearly $200,000 to upgrade vital IT technical systems and infrastructure, without which our signal wouldn’t get to you. 

Why do we do it? It’s not for shareholder return or private jets. It’s for moments like these:  

On dec 4 2020, my husband and I received a life-giving early Christmas gift: some extraordinary, generous, anonymous donor gave my husband a new set of lungs. … Our friends and family are giving us outpourings of love, encouragement, support, and soups! Our freezer, and our hearts, are full to overflowing. And CKUA, our constant musical companion through all of life’s journeys, is with us here in ICU, giving us bedside music to help recover by! The ICU staff love it, as do we. In this sterile environment, music is a rarity, and it is giving everyone the gift of joy, vibrancy, and colour. … This has been the Best. Christmas. Ever. 


CKUA, and everything it takes to create an experience you appreciate and want to support—we are the conduit. Through CKUA, you’re seeking something—a moment, a memory, a release—for yourself that only good music and a friendly host can provide. But you are also making a kinder, healthier and more vibrant community because music and the arts mean something to us all. Now, more than ever.  

Through the connection we share, if we can make your day, week, and world better by connecting you with music, arts and culture—and each other—then it’s been a good day. 

Please join us in our fall campaign by amplifying CKUA and helping us reach our $1M goal. We all deserve a few more good days. 

Do you have a question for Marc’s Mailbag? Please write us and we’ll get it to Marc right away!