Reason #27 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'


By Emil Tiedemann

With just a 500-watt signal, the CKUA Radio Network signed on for the first time on Monday, November 21, 1927 at the University of Alberta campus. It took a couple of Windmills, some worn iron poles, a $700 provincial grant, and two engineering students from the UofA to make it happen that day, and just like that CKUA became the first public broadcaster in the country! 

By May 1929, CKUA was also Canada’s first broadcaster to offer public educational radio programming, including university lectures, poetry readings, and music concerts. When the Alberta Government Telephones company (AGT) took over operations of CKUA in 1945, they moved it from the UofA to a building on Jasper Avenue downtown, where it remained for the next 56 years. 
The basement of CKUA in downtown Edmonton is full of thousands of vinyl records, CDs, audio tapes, and more!

ACCESS assumed ownership in ‘74 and would eventually help launch the careers of some of Canada’s most renowned musicians, including Bruce Cockburn, Jann Arden, and Edmonton-born k.d. lang. But, before them, CKUA also supported the careers of Edmonton’s own Robert Goulet, Tommy Banks, Arthur Hiller, and Bryan Hall, and continues to this day to expose local and independent artists and performers from all cultural formats. 

CKUA’s innovative reputation remained even as technology rapidly changed, becoming Canada’s first radio station to stream their broadcasts online, on February 29, 1996. Today, CKUA - now located in the Alberta Hotel property further down on Jasper - remains a community-based station that airs more than 40 programs and that embraces music from all genres, and discussions on all topics. It’s a tradition that all Edmontonians should not only be aware of, but be proud of, too. #ckua


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