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You. Are. The. Difference. Full Stop.


The theme for the 2023 Fall Fundraiser is “Be the Difference.” Here are three things you might not know about why your donation makes such a big difference.

As you know, CKUA provides a valuable public service that is free to access by everyone, but:

  1. The government does not fund CKUA. If you live outside Alberta, not a single cent of your tax dollars supports CKUA. Each Albertan contributes 1.3 cents of their provincial tax to CKUA through an operating grant. Compare this with operational funding for the CBC ($33.52 per Canadian)* and many of your favourite, larger non-profit music, film and arts festivals who curate and present the artists you discover on CKUA ($0.20 per Albertan on average)*

    *based on audited financial reports from 2018-19 pre-COVID disruption years
  2. Advertising doesn’t fund CKUA. Commercial radio sells endless commercials to support their business. To provide you with a decidedly non-commercial listening experience, we have a select group of businesses and arts organizations that align with our values and partner with us to advertise on CKUA. However, because our business model relies on charitable contributions, we are legally capped  at how much advertising we can sell.
  3. We can’t increase the cost of free. Most for-profit businesses and non-profit cultural organizations pass on the increasing cost of doing business to their customers through price increases. In CKUA’s case, how do you pass on a price increase for something people can access for free? Right now, runaway inflation and rising fixed costs are impacting every business. CKUA is no different. This year, that increase is 15% or almost a million dollars. Without the ability to charge admission to CKUA, all we can do is ask you to opt in and contribute however much moves you in support of this vital service to so many people.

It’s easy to assume someone else will take care of supporting CKUA because we’ve always been here. But now more than ever, we are counting on more listeners like you to donate. Donating to CKUA isn’t a “nice-to-have.” It’s essential. Without government funding and advertising, you and your fellow donors make all the difference in the lives touched by CKUA. Thank you, as always, to all who donate every year. And to those of you who will donate for the first time this coming campaign.

Marc Carnes
CEO, CKUA and monthly donor