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CKUA logo.svg
Broadcast area Alberta
Slogan original radio
Frequency Broadcast Frequency List
First air date 1927
Format public broadcaster, jazz, classical, news
Power 10,000 watts
Class B
Callsign meaning Canada K University of Alberta
Owner CKUA Radio Foundation (non-profit)
Website CKUA

CKUA is a Canadian radio station. Originally located at the University of Alberta in Edmonton (hence the UA of the call letters), it now broadcasts from studios in downtown Edmonton and south Calgary. CKUA was created in 1927 through a provincial grant which allowed the University of Alberta's Extension Department to purchase the licence of CFCK. CKUA was the first public broadcaster in Canada and also the first 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.[1] CKUA was operated from 1945 until 1974 by Alberta Government Telephones.[2] A crown corporation, the Alberta Educational Communications Corporation (later known as Access) assumed ownership of the station in 1974.[1] In 1994, Access sold the CKUA network to the non-profit CKUA Radio Foundation for $10.[3]

In 1997 the station was nearly shut down due to political squabbles, poor management, and attempts at privatization. The station was saved from demise when control was handed over 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.



The CKUA building in downtown Edmonton.

CKUA is considered a cultural icon by many musicians throughout Canada. 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, the employ of 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.[4]

CKUA schedules different programs throughout the week and thus can offer many different genres. These include, but are not limited to: blues, bluegrass, R & B, Celtic, country, classical, jazz, reggae, house, hip hop, dance, funk, rock, and world music. CKUA's music library boasts one of the largest and most diverse music collections in Canada, with over 70 000 CDs, 50 000 LPs, and 10 000 78 rpm records, as well as a few aluminium transcription discs, 45s, and other various media formats. CKUA also continues its history of educational programming with its broadcast of telecourses offered by the music and history departments of Athabasca University on weeknights. A highlight of weekday programming is the daily Call of the Land, a farm and agribusiness news program rumoured to be the basis of the SCTV parody, "Farm Film Blow-Up".

Broadcast technics

The station broadcasts its signal across the Province of Alberta at 580 kHz on the AM band through one Edmonton-based transmitter. The signal is also carried province-wide on FM through a network of 16 transmitters. CKUA also broadcasts in western Canada on select satellite providers. 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 in excess of five hundred streams. The station currently has over 160 000 weekly listeners.

Because of CKUA's extensive coverage, the station is one of only a handful of broadcasters (another being Access) to carry the Alberta Emergency Public Warning System. The provincial government-funded programme provides the station with 12% of its annual income. CKUA is especially suited as the primary originator of this service as (unlike many commercial stations) its studios are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Notable hosts




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 0091.3 FM CKUA-FM-13
Edmonton/Province wide 0580 AM CKUA (flagship)
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
Lloydminister 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


External links and references


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