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Remembering James Jarvis

James Jarvis with Baba

CKUA—and the world—lost a community champion and a friend to all when Senior Development Officer James Jarvis passed away suddenly on October 16, 2023. He came to CKUA in 2022 with decades of sales and arts promotion experience, leveraging his strong relationships with venues, promoters, and artists to build partnerships for CKUA. His work led to many successful on-air and newsletter promotions of concerts and festivals.

James was a kind and jovial colleague, and people at CKUA are feeling this loss intensely. Jodi Lucas, CKUA’s Senior Development Officer for Southern Alberta, worked closely with him and says, “Our friend James had the biggest heart. He loved music, he loved artists, he loved a good turn of phrase, and he loved CKUA. I will deeply miss our pal.”

Karen Howell, CKUA’s Events and Volunteer Manager, says, “What I remember was how much he cared about what was the best for CKUA. He once mentioned that CKUA was the best work family he ever had. It felt pretty good to hear that.”

CKUA’s CEO, Marc Carnes, says he’ll remember James as a kind and gentle soul. “His commitment to music and the arts made him a great Edmontonian and a wonderful ambassador for CKUA. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. We will all miss him.”

“His Santa game – the best.” – CKUA CEO Marc Carnes

Joshua Semchuk collaborated with James on many CKUA campaigns through his work at Bottom Line Productions, and says, “There are many things I love about James Jarvis, but the one I will remember always is his unwillingness to simply send a quick message about advertising campaigns or plans. No, it was always a call. A lovely call, where the topic of conversation was anything BUT client-sales stuff and instead focused on family, friendship, health, music, art, and of course, our beloved Elks football team. And then somewhere near the end there would be a few seconds of business, and voilà! the campaign was created. You always needed 30 minutes to speak with our friend (at minimum) and while sometimes you thought you didn’t have 30 minutes, it was always worth it. I’ll miss it forever.”

Steve Derpack, an Edmonton concert promoter and talent buyer who worked with James for years, says that his reputation as a community booster was established over decades. “He was generous with his time. And he was always the same with everyone. All the things people are saying about him are true.”

Konstantine Kurelias of The Winspear Centre says, “James was a kindhearted, generous person, and a tremendous supporter of the arts. He was also very tall! I remember inviting him to a Live at the Winspear event. He was so excited but reached out to ask about seating. He was sensitive about not ruining someone else’s experience and didn’t want to block anyone due to his height. The gentle giant, as he was called around town, only solidified that he effortlessly made everyone around him feel comfortable and have a good time. My condolences to his loved ones and his team at CKUA, which he spoke so affectionately about. Sharing in everyone’s sorrow.”

James contained multitudes. He was a music fan, a community builder, and a real-beard Santa. He was beloved by his colleagues, friends, and family.

Please join us for CKUA programming dedicated to James’s memory on November 1, 2023. Grant Stovel will share music and stories on Alberta Morning, between 6 and 9 am. If you have a memory or song suggestion to share in honour of James, please send it to