Native Communities Connect On the Air

| 10/16/2007 12:00:00 AM

On many reservations, cell phone service and internet access are spotty or nonexistent, and radio is an important resource for tribal communities to share information and stories with one another. Neelanjana Banerjee writes in New America Media that one national radio show, Native America Calling, connects many tribal nations by reaching 500,000 people via 52 stations. The call-in show, which broadcasts live on weekdays, invites listeners to join conversations on Native education, health care, arts, literature, and many other subjects. As Harlan McKosato, the show's host and producer, told Banerjee, "It’s about identity, first and foremost. That’s the core issue."

But even though most reservations have access to radio, getting ahold of station frequencies creates a major hurdle. So Native Public Media, a project of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, worked with several tribal communities to apply for non-commercial educational programming FM licenses from the Federal Communications Commission (the FCC accepted applications during a short window from October 9-15). Native Public Media will also testify before Congress on tribal telecommunications issues October 24. —Julie Dolan


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