The phrase "community of
communities" may be a bit worn, but it aptly describes CKUA Radio Network.
CKUA is very much the sum of its parts; a collaboration between paid
professionals, who run the station and design and present the programming;
myriad talented volunteers who support CKUA operations with their own
skills and talents, free of charge; private businesses and corporations,
who support CKUA with their dollars by underwriting programs and/or
purchasing advertising; and last but most certainly not least, a large
audience of listeners devoted to preserving Alberta's own unique version
of public broadcasting by voluntarily donating millions of dollars
annually to keep CKUA on the air - even though it could just as easily be
received by these same people for free.
It is collaboration unique in Canada and the world and a broadcast model
that is uniquely successful.
But the CKUA community is much more than just components of a very
successful business venture. The CKUA community is a mix of generations,
cultures, interests and ideas joined together by a passion for music, life
long learning, and a desire for superior and intelligent broadcasting
And while these attributes very much describe the CKUA of today, it is
important to know that CKUA is also very much the sum of its past
communities as well.
Founded in 1927 with a mandate to use the medium of radio to "take
education to the people", CKUA has gone from being Canada's first public
and first educational broadcaster, to being a crown corporation (ACCESS),
to being an independent, not-for-profit broadcaster.
But despite its many transformations, CKUA today remains true to its
founders' principle of "public service broadcasting", a principle founded
upon the belief that money, while obviously critical for CKUA's
survival, is a means to an end, and not the end in itself.
That is why today, CKUA remains dedicated to providing intelligent,
unique, alternative programming for its audience, rather than merely
pandering to the latest cultural fad or money-making broadcast trend. It
is a philosophy and a practice rooted in the belief that by putting the
interests and needs of the audience first, rather than the mere quest for
money, CKUA will always be unique, always be an alternative and always be
And if the idea of 'community' is based upon the principle of "putting
others ahead of oneself", then CKUA's broadcasting history and current
practices are very much "community" oriented. It seems an appropriate
exercising of the important responsibility and privilege inherent in
ownership of a broadcast license.