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CKUA
Radio Worth Fighting For
Marylu Walters
This comprehensive history of Canada’s oldest public radio station records the human stories and the struggle to survive through turbulent times. Founded as a groundbreaking experiment by the University of Alberta’s Department of Extension, CKUA is now a self-sufficient, listener-supported station that reaches a global audience via the Internet. From heady first years, it survived years of benign neglect under the Alberta government, culminating in a shut-down in 1997. The station has since undergone a dramatic revival and is now flourishing through the efforts of thousands of dedicated listeners. Marylu Walters has drawn together archival sources and original interviews to create a detailed portrait of the station. Happy 75th anniversary, CKUA!
Format:  Trade Paperback
ISBN:  978-0-88864-395-7
Price:  CND$ 29.95, USD$ 29.95, £ 24.99
Discount:  Trade
Subject:  History/Regional Interest/Media
Publication Date:  September 2002
Awards
2003 Alberta Book Awards
Grant MacEwan Author's Award, Nomination
2003 PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada
National Business Book Award, Nomination
Reviews
"In addition to being the story of a little radio station that has become a global Internet information dispensing powerhouse, Walters has also captured the political and cultural context of its history including the pioneering spirit that brought the station to life, the creativity that emerged from benign neglect, and the passionate battles that maintained the station through adversity. Enhanced with anecdotal stories told by the people who lived them, CKUA: Radio Worth Fighting For is a unique and highly recommended contribution to Communication Arts reference collections in general, and CKUA fans in particular.”
The Bookwatch
“Marylu Walters, a distinguished freelance writer, tells the story of CKUA, arguably the oldest publicly owned radio station in Canada. In trying to explain how this institution has survived a number of life-altering crises, she throws light on the dynamics of public broadcasting generally.”
Robert M. Seiler, Canadian Literature, Summer 2005
"Combining rigorous research and smooth prose, writer Marylu Walters and researcher Sharon Sinclair weave a prairies picaresque brimming with heroic tales of bare survival.… In Walters' able hands, CKUA's rich history unfolds briskly through homegrown dramas and music, bans on crooners, and 1960's style experimentation to its present, precarious toehold…This book performs a great service, not only in telling a singularly Albertan story to ourselves and anyone else who cares to listen, but as a cautionary tale.”
Geo F. Takach, Alberta Views
"Walters tells the whole story from 1928 on and captures the personalities, politics and passion of the people behind Alberta's renegade radio station.”
Canadian Association of Journalists, Media Magazine
"This book is well written, detailed, and quite dramatic at times. It is a valuable work.”
Alberta History
"The story in CKUA: Radio Worth Fighting For unfolds like a melodrama and, like all good drama, is based on interesting characters.... Another element in good drama is conflict. The station saw plenty of that.... Good drama is also relevant. Walters places the events happening at the station within the larger social, political, and historical context of the day.”
Barry Hammond, Legacy Magazine
"Walters is a great storyteller. She brings both people and events alive in a vibrant, dramatic and very readable way. The book is more like fascinating dynastic drama, kind of like The Godfather, but with less blood. Towards the climax, I could hardly put it down I was so interested in finding out what happens, even though I already knew. That’s good drama.”
Greenwoods Bookshoppe
"Walter's engaging account deftly captures all of the strength and spirit of the 'little radio station that could.' By putting CKUA 'into the political and cultural context of its times,' Walters elucidates just how amazing CKUA's endurance and its ability to overcome continual obstacles, both political and otherwise, really is. Indeed, there seems to be nothing the beleaguered station hasn't faced and overcome.”
Paula Dufresne, Vue Weekly.
"This well-researched tome on the 75-year history of Alberta's public radio station has more fighting than a biography of Muhammad Ali.... Walters, an Edmonton free-lance writer, lays it all out in almost 400 pages rich in interviews, pictures and quotations from previously unpublished letters and documents going back to the 1920s. There's a lot about politics, history, music and words from the colourful cast of characters who have worked at CKUA.”
Mike Sadava, The Edmonton Journal
"A great story, masterfully told. There are, just as in a dynastic novel, revelations in every chapter.”
Tommy Banks
"This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the history of Alberta and in public broadcasting in Canada. It's fascinating reading and very entertaining.”
Mel Hurtig

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