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L.A. Beat

CKXU embraces space for FUNDrive 2018

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 University of Lethbridge based community radio station CKXU 88.3 is shooting for the stars for this year‘s “Cosmic Frequencies” themed FUNDrive.Adrianna Smith models some of the Cosmic Frequencies swag for the 2018 FUNdrive. Photo by Richard Amery
There will be a variety of original local programming from 7 a.m. to midnight every day of FUNDrive, March 16-23 and special events happening in the community and on campus to help reach this year’s $30,000 goal.

“We set that goal every year, but we never reach it, but we’re reaching for the stars this year,” enthused CKXU program director Adrianna Smith.
This year’s FUNdrive funds will be used to develop a new state of the art website.

“A new website costs tens of thousands of dollars. It will offer limitless programming and podcasting and more which will allow listeners to access CKXU programming at the times that work best for them,” said Smith, who can be seen wandering around town dressed as an astronaut with other dedicated volunteers to help spread the word about FUNDrive.
“If you see astronauts wandering around campus and downtown, come up and say hi. We’re not scary. We’ve been getting a lot of strange looks and people asking to take pictures with us. If you say hi and take a flyer from us, you can take all the pictures you want,” she continued.

DJs will be asking their listeners for pledges in exchange for some cosmic swag including T-Shirts, crew cut sweaters, knit pins and patches, special habanero ghost pepper Hot Sauce a special compilation CD of local and touring acts who have recorded special sessions in the CKXU lobby. And of course the CKXU Friends Card which gives the owner discounts at a cornucopia of local businesses.

 Individual DJs have planned their own giveaways including specialized music compilations, baked goods, handicrafts, concert tickets and more. Every pledge over $25 gets you entered in a draw for  “Taste of CKXU” package including gift cards from friends and all the CKXU mix tapes. First time donors are entered in a draw for a swag pack from previous FUNdrives and early birds who donate before March 16 through are entered in a draw for some very cool prizes including two passes to South Country Fair, a weekend pass for the Blueberry Bluegrass Fest in Stony Plain, a ticket to summer solstice in Edmonton and more.

The fruits of the last three FUNDrives were dedicated to a new transmitter and long awaited signal upgrade, which will take effect in a few months, allowing everybody in the city as well as out to Taber and close to Claresholm to hear CKXU’s unique brand of programming and music you won’t hear on mainstream radio stations.

Station manager Aaron Trozzo noted the proceeds from most of the last four FUNdrives went towards the signal upgrade including all of 2014,15 and 16 and some of last year’s event.

“A lot of it was filling out documents and sending them to the CRTC then waiting for them to respond. But all things considered there was a quick turnaround as we sent them last June and got a response in November. We are having discussions with our engineer in June. Then we have to hire contractors. Now we have to buy a whole bunch of equipment,” said Trozzo, noting the upgrade planned to be completed by August.


 Regular programming won’t be affected during the installation, though there may be some strange moments for a week while the signal is tested to see exactly how far it goes.
“They get paid to work quickly,” he said crediting previous FUNdrive donors for making this big project happen.

“We couldn’t have done this project without FUNdrives. And it’s nice for the donors to have something tangible. There‘s a sense of ownership that we helped do this, rather than just throwing money at an organization and wondering what they do with it,” he continued.

 The website is the next big project.
“CJSW’s (at the University of Calgary) website cost them over 100 grand, but we’re not going to be that fancy,” he said.

“We have some specific things we want it to be able to do,” he said, adding just creating the website will costs a lot of money, then more will have to be spent maintaining it and ensuring it is sustainable.
“We want to make sure it is sustainable and then there is upkeep costs,” he said adding the main functions CKXU want is podcasting and archiving shows, plus ensuring the websites for Love And Records and the Fundrive can be found under the one banner.
“They’re under third party websites now,” he said.

 So CKXU volunteers will be on the air asking for donations, playing music, talking about what CKXU means to them and giving away swag all week long.
“We’ll have morning shows every day to help you get your day started,” Smith said.

  CKXU joined forces with local artist Shawna Saunders to design the Cosmic Frequencies swag, logo and posters. She compiled all of her artwork into a comic book which will be available to pledgers as well.
CKXU is offering extended hours to pick up swag from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m, Monday through Friday and Saturday noon to 4 p.m.

There are plenty of events happening throughout the week in the community.
“We’re taking over Craft Beer night on Friday  (March 16) at SAAG where we’re going to have our own beer ‘Terrestri-ale,’ available. And there will be an afterparty at the old Firehall,” she continued. Galactic Space Punk and Boogie Houser will be performing at the SAAG. The afterparty features Calgary post punk band Melted Mirror, Paris/ Edmonton psych pop duo Le Plaisir and local duo Birch Barks. Admission to the afterparty is $10.
The always popular Galactic Cupcake quest is at the Boys and Girls Club, March 18 at noon.
CKXU and Queen Scarlett Cinema present a movie night at Casa, March 22 at 7:30 with the 1972 Soviet film Solaris, a meditative psychological drama which mostly takes place on a space station. Admission is five dollars

The Slice features a couple of events.
 The big one is the Gutsy Club and CKXU Battle of the bands, Wednesday, March 21. It begins at  6 p.m. with performances by Mom Bod, Cope, Jane Doe, Junction, Sydeshow, Orangeman and Alyssa McQuaid and Coyote Junction who will all be competing for a variety of prizes  including studio time and VRKade  tickets.

 The Slice also hosts the FUNDrive landing party, March 23, which winds up FUNDrive with several bands specially put together to play covers of popular space themed songs. Tickets are $10 in advance at Blueprint and $15 at the door.
Trozzo is excited about the whole event.

“Who doesn’t like space? It’s a fun theme. It‘s the in thing now with space exploration and really cool images coming from space. Our swag is the best looking it’s ever been,” he said adding he is particularly excited about the landing party.
“I’m excited for the landing party for more reason than one. It’s going to be a banger. It’s nice to see the culmination of a week’s hard work. I love cover night and getting together with the Lethbridge music community and seeing what they come up with. I formed a band called Cartwheel Galaxy. We’re playing Modern English’s ‘Stop the World and Melt With You’ and ‘Cosmic Dance’ by T-Rex  and some other things, not to let the cat out of the bag,” he said.
 FUNdrive happens March 16-23. Check out the swag at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

A version of this story appears in the March 14,2018 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 March 2018 10:56 )  
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