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What goes into an hour of programming?

Community Profiles

When we listen to the radio, it’s easy to imagine the host chatting into a microphone. And maybe a technician doing something, um, technical, to keep the songs coming.

However, it takes a whole crowd (working from home, of course, crowds are dangerous!) of knowledgeable, creative people to create each second you hear.

Today we want to throw back the veil, revealing some of the human effort that goes into an hour of CKUA radio.

Let’s check out Get on the Good Foot, our new funk, soul, and R&B show.

First, of course, there’s Dawn Pemberton, the host! She puts in hours contemplating, researching, writing and ultimately recording Get on the Good Foot in her art-filled home studio each week.

Dawn tracks down the songs she needs for each show in CKUA’s massive digital library, which Arianne Smith-Piquette, library technician, keeps stocked by sorting, cataloguing and uploading around 65 new albums every week.

Once Dawn sends the show file from Vancouver to Edmonton, Duke Paetz, technical producer, takes over. He runs through a check list, making sure the sound levels, audio, left-right balance and voicing are all correct. Duke then uploads it to a system that ensures it airs properly, at the right time (kind of important!)

Rod Setter, interim director of engineering and IT, and his team make sure all 17 transmitters and the rest of the necessary hardware and equipment is functioning well.

Natalie Cook, grants coordinator and creative writer, writes the ad copy that will go on air next week while Sharon Cross, traffic coordinator, puts together the schedule that ensures every ad, every message, every show airs correctly. (Talk about unsung heroes! Nothing would get on air if Sharon didn’t schedule it into being. And very few of us know how the terrifying software she uses actually works!)

Elliott Garnier, senior producer, often operates entirely behind the scenes but he’s a key part of much of the cool stuff happening on air: planning, scheduling, coordinating and producing sessions, interviews, features and all kinds of special programming.

Not everyone at CKUA is so directly involved. However, without their contributions it would still be literal radio silence.

For example, our number crunchers! If only we could create radio from sheer force of spirit and love of music. However, it’s handy for anyone making a radio show to have lights that turn on. Functioning equipment and pay cheques are nice too.

The CKUA Finance and Administration team has the unenviable task (to those of us who fear numbers) of handling everything dollar-related. Just imagine the spreadsheets! Needless to say, this stalwart team, including Lorna Stevenson, (senior accountant) is a very, very important part of any on-air minute.

Revenue from the ads you hear on air also helps each hour of programming exist. These ads come to life thanks to Mandy Palubicki and Jodi Lucas, our senior development officers. This small but mighty team puts in hours working with anyone who’d like to advertise on CKUA before an ad or sponsored hour comes to be.

And speaking of development, it’s an immense job tracking and analyzing the digital mountains of data that come coming with managing over 10,000 donors. Michelle Hansen and her team handle our donor database, identifying trends and patterns and ensuring all of our information is correctly reported.

What if it’s a donated hour? Karen Howell, community engagement manager, organizes and schedules each hour, coordinating between the hosts and the donor.

If a show has an interview or a feature in it, Andrea Sulyma, external relations coordinator, creates the graphic design elements to accompany it and Shaun Friesen, digital and social marketing coordinator, formats it, publishes it on our website and sends it out on our social media posts.

Vish Khanna, communications and marketing manager, can often be heard on air, sharing arts and culture commentary, and other human-interest stories. He also plans and edits CKUA’s weekly newsletter.

These are but some of the names that make an hour of CKUA radio possible. Marc Carnes, CEO, and the rest of the CKUA leadership team, including Karla Schell, external relations director, David Ward, interim content director, Mary Philips-Rickey director of finance and administration, and Shannon Romanyshyn executive assistant are responsible for keeping the Good Ship CKUA afloat and merrily navigating the ever-changing waters.

Back to Get on the Good Foot! Each CKUA show is helmed by a wise and witty human. Indeed Dawn is just one of an illustrious crowd of 30+ CKUA radio hosts, including Tony King host of Thoroughfare and Leo Cripps host of Journeys.

Guess who else is crucial to the existence of any hour of CKUA radio? You. Our Crew – our donors and volunteers. Even during these uncertain times, our donors have been outdoing themselves in supporting CKUA. A full 60 per cent of CKUA’s funding comes from donations. That show you just heard would be sad, sad silence without you!