CKUA Radio Night OwlsAt one of their fundraisers last August, David Ward, the temporary Program Director for CKUA was approached by some concerned supporters. These after-midnight listeners were frustrated with the over-abundance of BBC talk shows and the dearth of the music programs CKUA has been known for during the past 90 years.“Necessity became the mother of invention,” quipped David. “When there’s an audience concern but no money to deal with that concern, it’s time to get creative.”

David remembered an independent radio producer who had been actively pitching a daytime program to CKUA. His question to the producer was, “what about a slot after midnight – oh, and we have no money to pay for it.” The producer readily agreed because he knew that the value for him was in the “on air” time, which would help him pitch his program to other stations.

That success led to exploring other options and possibilities. David reviewed existing contracts of the more popular daytime shows. All stipulated that fees would be charged for additional broadcasts. Simply asking the question, “Would you waive your re-broadcast fee for an after-midnight slot?” brought the “yeses” he had hoped for.

“I began to understand the value to potential suppliers that was more than just about the money,” said David. Program by program, they were able to replace the spoken-word content.

As a final step to reducing the BBC air time from 23 hours per week to 5, David approached two junior producers on staff who were eager for air time and experience. They submitted demos and acceptable pilots – voila! Mission accomplished. Work will continue until those remaining five hours are filled with music.

Here’s a small sample of the new line-up as listed on CKUA’s website:

CKUA’s New Overnight Programs:

Zed Air is a conversation with the world, set to the best record collection in Alberta. Featuring weekly and monthly features, host Oskar Zybart invites the global radio audience into CKUA’s music library so that they can recommend different avenues to explore. Any genre; any era. It’s all fair game. The show airs Sundays from 1am-2am MT.

Café Acousmatic, hosted by Don Hill, is your entry to the aural pleasures of electroacoustic music and sound art of every sort. Complemented by interviews with music-makers, contemporary composers, and sonically pleasing new releases, Café Acousmatic is a special treat for headphones and walkabouts. It airs 3am-4am MT Thursdays and 12am-1am MT Mondays.

Just as there is order in the universe, there is order on an album. On Side by Side, Scott Turner puts the needle in the groove, and plays entire sides of records that just can’t be beat. The program airs 3am-4am MT on Tuesdays.

See full CKUA Overnight Program Schedule.

Questions? Concerns? Feedback? Email them at:

If you’re a daytime fan of CKUA, you’ll be delighted to learn of plans for a Summer Festival Kick-Off Party, hosted by the station and tentatively set for Friday, June 5. It will be held in the park adjacent to CKUA. Ken Regan, CEO and General Manager of the station is excited about this free event.

We’re forming partnerships with the Fringe and the Summer Music Festivals to offer an excerpt from a Fringe play and selections of music from various performers. Our live broadcast will feature jazz, folk music, and Blues. People can bring a picnic lunch or buy food from vendors and just enjoy the entertainment. We’ve always been the voice for up and coming Alberta artists. This event will be another great opportunity!

Eager supporters of CKUA will also be happy to know that this year’s Spring Fundraiser is scheduled from April 16 – 26. There will be special live music performances. As always, when you donate, you can also request your favourite piece of music. “20% of our operating funds come through our fundraisers, so they are crucial to our ongoing success,” said Ken.

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