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Broadcast area Alberta
Slogan Original radio
Frequency 580 AM province wide; various FM frequencies
First air date 1927
Format public broadcaster; jazz, classical, news, local artists, eclectic
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. 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 went off the air due to political squabbles, poor financial 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.


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, hiphop, dance, funk, rock, and world music.

CKUA also continues its history of educational programming with its broadcast of telecourses offered by the music and history departments of Athabasca University. 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".

Famous Historic Music Archive

CKUA's music library boasts one of the largest and most diverse music collections in Canada, with more than 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.

Broadcast technics

The station's main signal is located at 580 kHz in Edmonton. It broadcasts at 10,000 watts. Due to its location near the bottom of the AM dial, as well as its transmitter power, this is enough to cover nearly all of Alberta's densely populated area.

The signal is also carried province-wide on FM through a network of 17 transmitters. 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 in excess of five hundred streams. A new digital stream is in the testing phase. The station currently has more than 160,000 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.[5]

CKUA originally announced plans to close down their legacy 580 AM signal in the spring of 2013. [6] However, CKUA did not receive formal approval from the CRTC until September 12, 2013. In the CRTC's decision, CKUA must close down its AM transmitter by December 12, 2013. [7]

Notable hosts


  • Chris Allen
  • Mark Antonelli
  • Dilbagh Singh Bhangoo, who uses the on-air name "Baba"
  • Allison Brock
  • Deborah Byrd
  • Bob Chelmick
  • Lark Clark
  • Cheryl Croucher
  • Tom Coxworth
  • Tony Dillon-Davis
  • Andy Donnelly
  • Diane Donovan
  • Brian Dunsmore
  • Steve Fisher
  • Roy Forbes
  • Brian Golightly
  • Ian Gray
  • David Gregory
  • Cam Hayden
  • Don Hill
  • Sarah Hoyles
  • Tony King
  • Craig Korth
  • Monica Miller
  • Terry David Mulligan
  • Peter North
  • Holger Petersen
  • Lionel Rault
  • Kathleen Renne
  • Caitlynn Reesor
  • Orest Soltykevych
  • Grant Stovel
  • Luka Symons
  • Kevin Wilson
  • John Worthington


  • Tommy Banks
  • Don Bell
  • Don Berner
  • Garth Collins
  • Bill Coull
  • Bryan Hall
  • Ken Davis
  • Cathy Ennis
  • Robert Goulet
  • Ed Kilpatrick
  • Richard Moses
  • Prosper Prodaniuk
  • Jan Randall
  • John Runge
  • Sev Sabourin
  • George Vaitkunas
  • Marc Vasey
  • David Ward


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 (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
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


External links and references

  • , by Marylu Walters; University of Alberta Press
  • CKUA
  • [2]
  • Canadian Communications Foundation
  • "CFCK" later became "CKUA" - History from the Canadian Communications Foundation
  • CKUA: Fifty years of growth for the university's own station by Jean Kirkman
  • Query the REC's Canadian station database for CKUA
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