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Tony King’s Twisted Radio Trajectory

Community Profiles

Do you have a story about you and CKUA that you’d like to share with us? Please let us know by writing us. We’d love to feature it! What do such stories look like?

Well, here’s one by Tony King, the beloved host of our show, Thoroughfare, from his days as a performer and host-in-the-making!

The year was 1977.

Radio was the heartbeat of music, anchored by popular hits from the Steve Miller Band, Thelma Huston, and of course, the Bee Gees.

Into this world, I found myself standing on a flatbed truck, parked in succession with a number of others in downtown Edmonton. My feet were planted between an array of cables, woven onto this ad hoc stage, like a spider web waiting to snare me into an electrical firestorm.

This was promenade time in Edmonton. Jasper Avenue was packed with individuals dressed in their Klondike finery. Shaking the fringe of their parasols was the music that poured from our stage. “Your Song” by Elton John and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven,” rendered with a slightly out of tune flute making it a little bit of an oxymoron.

Right now you’re thinking, what does this have to do with this guy I hear on the airwaves at CKUA? I don’t blame you, and believe me when I say this is not a MacGuffin in the Hitchcock sense; there is method to my madness.

You see, the reason I ended up on that stage was because of a relative, who happened to sell airtime for a very popular radio station. Fancying himself a bit of an entrepreneur, I think my Uncle Blair wanted to expand his portfolio and manage artists, so why not start with someone close to home?

For an excruciatingly nerve wracking 43 minutes, we powered through our set to polite applause and, as if looking for approval from a parent we met with my uncle, reserved platitudes. It was only later that my Uncle Blair pulled me aside and said, “Hey, that was good, but…” Witnessing my heart sinking, he continued, “you have something else I think worth exploring.”

And thus, I was steered into the radio business—perfect for outliers who love music and are curious about what makes people tick.

Years later, the journey, marked by many side roads, has led me to CKUA—literally the best radio station on the planet, for which I’m eternally grateful.

Thanks again for sharing this story about you and CKUA and your excellent on-air programming, Tony! 

Please email us if you would like to share your own CKUA story with our community!