CKUA Makes an Epic Move

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We didn't set out to break any records when we moved from our 108-year-old building on Jasper Ave. in Edmonton to our new address at the restored, historical Alberta Hotel in October 2012. But after 57 years in the old building, we were bound to break something.

main control

Main control

As it is, CKUA Radio Networks holds the record as the first educational broadcaster in Canada, dating back to 1927. We are a non-profit organization and rely on our listeners and volunteers for funding and support. The move set us up with a few firsts, including moving more than 60,000 CDs, 72,000 LPs, 11,000 78s and several hundred Edison discs that go back to 1912 -- the largest vintage music library we know of in broadcasting. We estimate the entire collection consists of 1.6 million tracks, which would take about 11 years to play back to back in its entirety. We hired professionals to help us move it, and yes, we did break a few in the process. (Hint: never stack records for moving. One speed bump and the whole stack of records could crack.)

Our irreplaceable music collection was one reason why we decided to make the move -- that and the Jasper building had seen better days. Through the years, we wired, rewired and patched things together as best we could, building a patchwork of studios stacked on many floors to feed 17 provincial transmitters, streaming as the public broadcaster for the Alberta province.

The old Jasper building had seen more than its share of disasters. Some years ago, a fire broke out that jeopardized the music library, the majority of which has since been digitized and now sits on 67TB of digital storage.

studio A

Studio A

Part of the reason for the move was to give our music library the kind of temperature- and moisture-controlled environment it deserved. We wanted to preserve that history, and we also needed a state-of-the-art facility, not only providing good radio programming, but the ability to showcase live performances, inviting listeners to participate.

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