Grants bolster Native radio program services

Two foundations will back capacity-building for Koahnic Broadcast Corp., the public media nonprofit that operates KNBA in Anchorage, Alaska, and Native Voice One, the New Mexico-based producer and distributor of national shows Native America Calling and National Native News, among others.

The grants, totaling $375,000, are intended to strengthen Koahnic’s Native radio programming, marketing and distribution services. The Ford Foundation committed $300,000 to the initiative over three years, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation provided the balance in a one-year grant, according to Jaclyn Sallee, Koahnic president.

Koahnic and Native Voice One serve a growing but economically fragile field of tribal stations. They added 11 new affiliates over the past year and anticipate more new tribal stations in Louisiana, Idaho and New York, according to the grant announcement. Many have no capacity to produce local programming, Sallee told Current. “We’re going to be providing things that stations expect from a national distributor, like tune-in spots and fundraising editions of our shows,” she said.

“This is critical support at this time when the FCC has issued a priority for Tribal organizations to obtain broadcast radio licenses,” Sallee said in the grant announcement. Many Native groups that got FCC permits to build new stations in 2007 must finish construction soon or lose their permits (Current, July 11). Native Public Media and the National Congress of American Indians have asked the FCC to postpone the deadlines.

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