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CKUA sets million dollar goal for fall fundraiser

Beloved Alberta radio station CKUA is in the midst of its fall fundraising campaign. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

After a surprisingly successful spring fundraiser, which raised over $700,000 just as COVID-19 took hold in the province, CKUA is setting its sights a little higher for its fall campaign. The goal this time? $1 million.

"We are going to raise $1,000,000 in October. Yes. We are," said CKUA CEO Marc Carnes. "It's a lot of zeroes, and we say, bring them on. We have no doubt, as a people-powered community, we will leap over that bar by October 31."

Devoted listeners know that donations are CKUA's primary source of revenue, accounting for over half of what is needed annually to operate the radio network. CKUA produces signature curated programs and broadcasts on-air and online to 700 communities around the world, including 348 in Alberta via 16 FM transmitters located from Fort McMurray to Lethbridge. Funds raised through online donation ( go to programming, production and the transmitter network.

"Provincewide, we're a voice of music, arts and culture. Listeners tell us they need this for their mental health and well-being," he said. "To hear a comforting and familiar host play favourite music, and to feel connected in isolating times — that's a lifeline for many. The theme of this year's drive, 'You are never alone', is still fitting."

Starting as a U of A extension service for farmers over 92 years ago, CKUA has a unique multi-genre format — jazz, blues, classical, folk, rock, pop, roots and more. The station broadcasts 8,760 hours of curated programming, showcases 4,000 Canadian artists (of which 1,000 are Albertan) and presents over 400 interviews, live performances, video sessions and events each year.

Rod and Liz from Calgary said "We appreciate the human touch that CKUA's announcers bring to the radio. Such an eclectic curation of music accompanied by knowledgeable hosts--it's so rare in today's canned world." 

A few years ago, the station moved to digs in the new Alberta Hotel; a space that now houses 1.5 million songs (digital and vinyl), performance space and even host studios with turntables (there’s also vintage mics, retro 8-track, cassette tape and CD players in the station’s historic collections.) A second broadcast centre is at Studio Bell in the National Music Centre on Calgary's Music Mile.

See for special campaign programming and on how to donate.