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Marc’s Mailbag: Support CKUA, Join the Crew

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/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 less to a specific question and more about the state of CKUA after a truly strange year for everyone, to say the least.

It was a year ago around this time that I sat down to pen a letter to you, our listeners.

Like many of us, I was filled with uncertainty about the coming weeks and months. How could we run CKUA during a lockdown? Were our staff and their families going to be okay? Were our listeners?

At this time last year, I’m not ashamed to say that we were confident of precisely two things.

  1. Members of the CKUA community look out for each other and us.
  2. No matter what happened, CKUA staff and hosts were committed to being there with you through the uncertainty, bringing joy, connectedness and a welcome escape from the turbulent world around us.

As the coming months played out, we were reminded time and again how true both statements are.

Over the past year, our relationship with you grew. Many of you shared personal stories and experiences with us. You shared stories about how much music helps brings us hope, understanding and the ever-important kitchen dance party when we need it most. Stories about how music, arts, and culture nourish our souls, and without it, we feel as though part of us is missing. Stories about the importance of being part of a community, feeling connected to familiar personalities who bring reprieve from the doom and gloom of the endless 24-hour news cycle.

Beneath the surface of it was a shared belief. A belief that CKUA adds something to our lives, be it music, or stories, or connections. It’s the good stuff that brightens your day and unites a community of people from an endless variety of backgrounds through a shared passion for made-in-Alberta music, arts, and culture. It’s something special you can’t get anywhere else.

I reflect on all this because this April, we launch our spring fundraising campaign where, with your help, we will raise $1,000,000 in support of CKUA’s mission to be Alberta’s voice for music, arts and culture. I invite you to join the Crew in stretching for this goal.

For long-time listeners and donors, you may be wondering why such a big number? The answer is that this is what we need to raise this time. It takes nearly $6,000,000 per year to run CKUA*. Of this, we ask our listeners to contribute approximately two-thirds through one-time contributions and monthly subscriptions.

In the past, we would set campaign totals based on what we thought we could get to, rather than placing the entire burden of what we need on our listeners. COVID changed all that. Our other lines of business (advertising and office rentals) have taken a hit. As a result, our spring and fall campaigns take on added importance if we are to continue serving the community to the level it has come to expect of us.

For newer listeners or non-donors, you may be wondering why we fundraise at all? After all, radio stations run on advertising, right? While it’s true that commercial radio stations run on advertising, and CKUA has advertisers, it represents only about 10% of our revenues. Part of the reason the number is so low has to do with the type of CRTC license we have, as an independent public broadcaster. Another factor is that we have an unspoken deal with our listeners to provide an escape from the commercial radio listening experience. In return, we put our fate in your hands by crowd-sourcing our operating funds from the more than 200,000 listeners like you from across Alberta and the world.

This April, please join the Crew —more than 12,000 annual contributors who play such an integral role in making CKUA the institution it is. As we celebrate a season of renewal unlike any other in recent history, thanks to your support CKUA will be there providing an expertly curated soundtrack to match.

Marc Carnes
Monthly subscriber and campaign leadership donor

*I invite you to review our recently released 2019/20 annual report by clicking here.

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