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The Time is Now

On April 17, 2024, CEO Marc Carnes addressed the CKUA community with an update about CKUA’s future. We need you, our listening community, to support the station you know and love. The Time Is Now! For more information check out the FAQ, or read the transcript here.

Your financial support is crucial to CKUA’s future. The Time Is Now!

In recent weeks, many festivals, and arts organizations in Alberta and across Canada have been forced to make tough decisions regarding scaling down, suspending operations and, in some cases, shutting down. These decisions are in response to a tough economic environment due to inflation, rising costs, and stagnant or reduced revenues.

CKUA is not sheltered from this economic reality. As a donor-supported organization, we need more listeners to donate. This fundraising campaign is essential, and your support during the Spring Fundraiser is critical.

The arts sector needs a vibrant CKUA! We are the organization that supports a healthy, strong arts sector in Alberta. We are Alberta’s arts and culture connector. Simply put, we connect arts organizations with audiences, with artists, and with each other. We are the glue that binds the arts infrastructure in this province.

The bottom line is clear: we must significantly increase the financial support from our listening community.


The need we fulfill:

470,000 people. That’s the growing number of unique listeners CKUA reaches each month, providing an authentic experience not found anywhere else. Most of CKUA’s funding comes from people like you, and every donation is important. Donate today!

Did you know that last year, CKUA played music by more than three thousand Canadian artists? And did you know that a third of those artists are from Alberta? This unique platform is not funded by the government, and advertising revenue is limited. Donor support is the key to CKUA’s future. Donate today!

Every year, CKUA airs hundreds of interviews with artists, festival planners, and creative people all around Alberta. This work grows careers, reaches new audiences, and supports a vibrant cultural sector in the province. The government doesn’t fund this work. Your donation makes it possible. Donate today!

126 hours. That’s the number of hours of original programming CKUA shares each week. Some hours are full of jazz. Other hours share classical symphonies and sonatas. And some have a little bit of everything: folk, pop, blues, funk, and soul. What these hours all have in common is that they are curated with care by real people. Hosts who love music just as much as you do. Your donation makes this authentic musical experience possible.  Donate today!

How much we need:

$8.8 million. That’s CKUA’s forecasted annual operating costs for 2023-2024, which has increased nearly twenty percent since COVID, due to inflation. Less than 10% of this budget is covered by advertising and by government funding. Donate today!

$900,000. That’s the annual cost of CKUA’s utilities which make it possible to broadcast. Without government funding and sufficient advertising revenue, we need more listeners to donate to cover the skyrocketing costs to bring radio to you. Donate today!

$700,000 per year. That is the annual maintenance and operating costs of the 16 transmitters to keep you and listeners in 378 communities across Alberta connected with CKUA. The radio network is part of the fabric of Alberta’s small towns and rural highways. This cost does not include streaming and OnDemand. We need more listeners to donate to ensure CKUA can continue to connect music lovers around the world with radio and streaming services. Donate today!

91 people. That’s the number of paid professionals required to run and present 126 hours of fresh, expertly curated programming each week, 52 weeks per year. This includes 35 announcers who curate original, diverse programs. Donate today!

Let’s bust some common myths:

A common misperception is that we are based out of the U of A. Our call letters are “UA,” but we don’t receive student fees or university funding. We started at the U of A in 1927 and became part of the Government of Alberta in the 1940s. Since the mid-1990s we have been independent and donor-supported. Donate today!

Today, if you live outside Alberta, not a penny of your tax dollars supports CKUA. Each Albertan contributes $0.013  (yes, 1.3 cents) of their provincial tax to CKUA through an operating grant. Donate today!

CKUA is legally capped at 6 minutes of advertising per hour due to our charitable business model and public mandate. At 6 minutes in an hour, if we sell every minute we are legally allowed to sell, that’s a maximum of approximately $1.4M, while our operating budget is more than $8M. Donate today!

CKUA owns the Alberta Hotel in Edmonton as our broadcast and administrative home. While we do rent space out to office tenants, the building is intended to offset our operating costs. Today, the post-COVID real estate market has effectively collapsed in downtown Edmonton. This has put pressure on our operational finances while we weather this storm and seek new tenants. Donate today!

Costs are rising. Like every other organization or business, we face increased technology, utility and debt servicing costs.

CKUA’s business model works. Listenership is growing, and programming is deliberately diverse, attracting more young listeners than ever before.

CKUA must increase revenue. Fundraising and advertising sales must grow to meet rising costs. We don’t have any other way of monetizing public airwaves. Radio is a free, essential, service. We can’t charge a fee to everyone who tunes in.

You are the difference between CKUA being on the air and not being on the air.  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 generously during this critical time.

For more information about CKUA and our financial picture, please view our 2023 Community Report.


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