CKUA Radio Network

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CKUA logo.svg
Broadcast areaAlberta
BrandingCKUA Radio Network
SloganMusic, Story, Connection
FrequencyVarious FM frequencies
First air dateNovember 21, 1927
FormatCommunity Radio
Powersee chart
Classsee chart
Callsign meaningCanada K University of Alberta
Former frequencies580 kHz
OwnerCKUA Radio Foundation

The CKUA Radio Network is a Canadian donor-funded community radio network based in Edmonton, Alberta. Originally located on the campus of the University of Alberta in Edmonton (hence the UA of the call letters), it was the first public broadcaster in Canada. It now broadcasts from studios in downtown Edmonton, and as of fall 2016 has added a studio in Calgary 's National Music Centre. CKUA's primary station is CKUA-FM located on 94.9 FM in Edmonton, and the station operates fifteen rebroadcasters to serve the remainder of the province.


CKUA was created in 1927[1] through a provincial grant which allowed the University of Alberta's Extension Department to purchase the licence of CFCK. CKUA was also the first radio station to offer educational radio programming, including music concerts, poetry readings, and university lectures. From 1930 to 1931 the station was an affiliate of the CNR Radio network.[2] CKUA was operated from 1945 until 1974 by Alberta Government Telephones.[3] The crown corporation, Alberta Educational Communications Corporation (later known as Access), assumed ownership of the station in 1974.[2] In 1994, Access sold the CKUA network to the non-profit CKUA Radio Foundation for $10.[4]

In 1994 the station won an Alberta Recording Industry Award of Excellence.[5]

On March 20, 1997 the station went off the air for five weeks due to political squabbles, poor financial management, and attempts at privatization.[6] The station restarted broadcasting on April 25, 1997 after control was given to the public from directors appointed by the provincial government. As of 2005, more than two-thirds of the station's funding came from its listeners in the form of donations.

Cultural Impact[edit]

The station's practice of supporting local, independent, and non-commercial artists has helped launch the careers of such renowned musicians as k.d. lang, Jann Arden, and Bruce Cockburn. In addition, CKUA has contributed to the careers of Arthur Hiller, Robert Goulet, and Tommy Banks, among others. Throughout the 1930s an early radio drama series, CKUA Players, was produced out of the station and broadcast throughout Western Canada by a network of stations.[7]


CKUA schedules different programs throughout the week and thus can offer many different genres including blues, bluegrass, R&B, Celtic, country, classical, jazz, reggae, folk, hiphop, dance, funk, rock, roots, and world.

Historic Music Archive[edit]

CKUA's music library boasts one of the largest and most diverse music collections in Canada, with more than 250,000 CDs and LPs, including 10,000 78 rpm records, as well as a few aluminium transcription discs, 45s, and other various media formats.

Broadcast Locations[edit]

CKUA was headquartered in the Alberta Block building on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton starting in 1955. In October, 2012, CKUA moved into its current location in the Alberta Hotel building, with its first broadcast from the new location on October 15, 2012.[8]

Broadcast technics[edit]

The station's original transmitter was located at 580 kHz in Edmonton. It operated at 10,000 watts. Due to its location near the bottom of the AM dial, as well as its transmitter power, it was powerful enough to cover nearly all of Alberta's densely populated area. It added an FM simulcast in 1947.

Starting in the 1970s, CKUA built a network of 16 FM repeaters across Alberta. CKUA also broadcasts in western Canada on select cable and satellite providers (such as SaskTel, who carries CKUA across Saskatchewan as a Lloydminster station). As of February 29, 1996, CKUA became the first radio station in Canada to stream their broadcast online, and now has upgraded the service to carry an unlimited number of streams. The station currently has more than 250,000 weekly listeners.

Because of CKUA's extensive coverage, the station was one of only a handful of broadcasters (another being CTV Two Alberta, formerly Access) to carry the Alberta Emergency Public Warning System. The provincial government-funded programme provided the station with 12% of its annual income until the contract was lost to an Ottawa firm, Black Coral Inc., in January 2010.[9]

CKUA announced plans to shut down its legacy 580 AM signal, the longest continuously-used AM frequency in Canada, in the spring of 2013. It would have needed to invest as much as $5 million to upgrade the transmitter site to modern standards, an amount it could not afford.[10] However, CKUA did not receive formal approval from the CRTC until September 12, 2013.[11] AM 580 went off the air on November 21, 2013, the station's 86th anniversary.[10]

Current On-Air Personalities[edit]

The CKUA program lineup relies on a number of on-air personalities.

  • Mark Antonelli
  • Dilbagh Singh Bhangoo ("Baba")
  • Allison Brock
  • Bob Chelmick
  • Lark Clark
  • Cheryl Croucher
  • Tom Coxworth
  • Tony Dillon-Davis
  • David Dodge
  • Andy Donnelly
  • Dianne Donovan
  • Cathy Ennis
  • Roy Forbes
  • Derina Harvey
  • Cam Hayden
  • Kodi Hutchinson
  • Tony King
  • Wade Kozak
  • Hayley Muir
  • Terry David Mulligan
  • Holger Petersen
  • Lionel Rault
  • Caitlynn Reesor
  • Orest Soltykevych
  • Leeroy Stagger
  • Grant Stovel
  • David Ward
  • Darcy Whiteside
  • Lisa Wilton

Previous On-Air Personalities[edit]


City of licence Frequency Callsign CRTC Decision
Athabasca 0098.3 FM CKUA-FM-10
Banff/Canmore 0104.3 FM CKUA-FM-14 86-1098
Calgary 0093.7 FM CKUA-FM-1
Drumheller/Hanna 0091.3 FM CKUA-FM-13
Edmonton 0094.9 FM CKUA-FM (flagship)
Edson 0103.7 FM CKUA-FM-8
Fort McMurray 0096.7 FM CKUA-FM-11
Grande Prairie 0100.9 FM CKUA-FM-4
Hinton 0102.5 FM CKUA-FM-7
Lethbridge 0099.3 FM CKUA-FM-2
Lloydminster 0097.5 FM CKUA-FM-15
Medicine Hat 0097.3 FM CKUA-FM-3
Peace River 0096.9 FM CKUA-FM-5
Red Deer 0107.7 FM CKUA-FM-6 2007-25
Spirit River 0099.5 FM CKUA-FM-12
Whitecourt 0107.1 FM CKUA-FM-9


  1. ^ "Mercy - Arden collects half a dozen ARIAs". Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, Alberta, May 30, 1994, p. 12
  2. ^ a b "CKUA History from the Canadian Communications Foundation". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
  3. ^ CKUA History Archived 2006-10-10 at the Wayback Machine, Canadian Communications Foundation
  4. ^ "CKUA-FM history, Canadian Communications Foundation". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
  5. ^ "Mercy - Arden collects half a dozen ARIAs". Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, Alberta, May 30, 1994, p. 12
  6. ^ Geo Takach (1 December 2010). Will the Real Alberta Please Stand Up?. University of Alberta. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-88864-772-6.
  7. ^ Radio Drama, English Language, Canadian Encyclopedia, accessed January 23, 2008
  8. ^ "CKUA Radio celebrates new home with ceremonial record delivery". By Caley Ramsay Global News, October 6, 2012
  9. ^ "Contract loss forces job cuts at CKUA". January 12, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  10. ^ a b CKUA-AM history at Canadian Communications Foundation
  11. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-483, CKUA-FM Edmonton – Deletion of an AM transmitter, CRTC, September 12, 2013

External links and references[edit]