Native talk show gains new owner, CPB aid
A lot happened in one week for Native America Calling (NAC), public radio's flagship Native American program. Koahnic Broadcast Corp., an Anchorage-based producer of Native-targeted programs, acquired the weekday call-in show on Native issues from Nebraska-based Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT) on April 2. Eight days later, CPB announced a three-year, $1.2 million grant to the show, which airs on 36 stations.
The changes guarantee the show's future by expanding its staff and removing it from NAPT, which wants to produce less programming and focus more on its core business of marketing and distribution. NAPT operates American Indian Radio On Satellite (AIROS), the primary satellite pipeline for Native programming, and only started producing NAC out of necessity when Koahnic spun off from Alaska Public Radio Network (APRN), the show's original producer. APRN lacked the resources and staff to produce the show, and NAPT took over in 1995. A year later, Koahnic began producing NAC's Friday edition, which highlights health and wellness issues.
NAC will still originate from KUNM in Albuquerque the rest of the week, but it gains several staffers. Bernadette Chato, host of Koahnic's National Native News, will executive-produce NAC, and Wishelle Banks will produce the show. Banks, a Leech Lake Anishinaabe, has written for the Reno News and Review, News from Indian Country and Indian Country Today.
Koahnic has also hired Native radio veteran Susan Braine as a manager of national programming. Braine was Koahnic's first leader and once managed AIROS. Most recently, she helped start KUYI, a Hopi station in Arizona.
The show's transfer allows NAPT to focus more on distributing and marketing Native-themed shows from stations and independent producers, says NAPT Executive Director Frank Blythe. AIROS streams its programs around the clock on its website, and Blythe wants to offer more online content.
Web page posted July 28, 2002
Copyright 2001 by Current Publishing Committee