CKUA's new home offers safer storage for massive music collection
Published Friday, December 7, 2012 5:31PM MST
Last Updated Friday, December 7, 2012 6:57PM MST
Alberta’s most historic radio station is embarking on a big move - within a move.
While CKUA has been slowly moving into its new home in the refurbished Alberta hotel for a few months now, on Friday, thousands of the station’s albums were transferred from the old location on Jasper Avenue.
Several large moving trucks delivered the massive music collection featuring nearly 2 million songs from its old spot in a damp basement, to a new, more open, and brighter space that will also offer more safe storage.
“In the last building we had a couple of plumbing accidents and next thing you know we were all racing around trying to save vinyl. It’s irreplaceable,” said popular CKUA radio host Baba.
“This is the appropriate storage.”
There’s more space and new equipment in the new building, but most importantly, CKUA’s impressive music collection can now be stored in a more suitable space – ensuring music history will be safely stored for generations to come.
“The fact that we’ve got humidity controls, temperature controls, no sewer leaks and no gas leaks, those thing are huge,” said Todd Crawshaw, CKUA’s manager of marketing and sales.
Crawshaw said he did some math to put into perspective just how large CKUA’s music collection is.
“If we looked at our entire collection, on average about three-and-a-half minutes per song, we would have 1.6 million tracks played back to back 11-and-a-half years without repeating anything,” Crawshaw said.
The cost of the radio station’s move has been covered by city and provincial grants, as well as donations from long-time listeners.
The radio station began broadcasting in the new building in October.
Crawshaw says today’s move of thousands of albums barely makes a dent in the overall scheme of things.
“We’re probably about 15, maybe 18 per cent done the library move,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot ahead of us.”
While the music moves into its new home, CKUA’s hosts like Baba, are already settling in and say the new space is an important and welcome change.
“It’s modern,” he said. “It’s amazing architecturally and in terms of engineering… (it’s a) natural fit for me because it’s old on the outside and totally contemporary inside.”
The move to the refurbished Alberta Hotel is one Baba says opens the door for more big changes at CKUA.
“I see more interactive features to us being available to people, people walking off the street and walking into the building and us taking the performance, taking the radio out to the sidewalk so it’s not just somewhere on the sixth floor,” Baba said.
“We are here and we want to meet people because it’s people who make who we are, we are the people, so that’s what I see. It’s a platform or springboard for us to take radio into the 21st century and be more real and then we ever were.”
With files from Bill Fortier