White Mountain Apache Radio Advances Virtual Reporting Operations

WHITERIVER, AZ – Starting as a volunteer almost 20 years ago, KNNB Acting Station Manager Sylvia Browning reminisced about changes in daily station operations during a visit from Native Public Media. One of the more recent changes to operations is the requirement by the Federal Communications Commission for radio stations to file their Public File on-line.

According to a Report and Order released by the FCC on January 28, 2016, “the purpose of the public inspection file requirement [being available online] is to ‘make information…more readily available, so that the public will be encouraged to play a more active part in dialogue with broadcast licensees.” The FCC is also migrating data from the old Consolidated Database System (CDBS) to a new online Licensing and Management System (LMS).

Established almost thirty-seven years ago in September 1982, KNNB is situated in a small valley in Whiteriver, Arizona surrounded by mountains and tall pines. Browning recalls how reams of paper documents made up the station’s Public File which became a part of her responsibility as a newbie in the station.

KNNB embraces the responsibility of not only being the voice for the White Mountain Nation and is dedicated to ensuring that programming is considerate of community interests. Though times have changed with technology advancing the practices of stations, the commitment of KNNB to ensure access and transparency for their community has only been strengthened with the FCC On-line Portal training made available through Native Public Media’s Station Support Program.

“I really enjoyed the training I received on the FCC license renewal and Public File management. I feel less stressed and have a handle on entering data. I've got my questions answered and look forward to the [Public Filing] process,” states Browning.

It is common knowledge that Native Nations and their citizens face challenges of access to reliable and quality Internet across Indian Country. A large number of Native broadcast stations are challenged with unreliable services from a monopoly of providers or in the worst case scenario, broadband infrastructure has yet to reach the community.

“We understand the specific challenges that Native stations can have with Internet access. This becomes a major concern when the rest of the world beyond Indian Country are using technology to advance their information networks while Native stations are left behind. When we are called on by stations to provide on-site technical support to aid with matters like online filing, its critical for us to respond because a seemingly innocuous task could turn into a penalty situation for a small station,” explains Native Public Media Trainer, Elyse Dempsey.

In addition to its onsite training, Native Public Media has a strong record of education and advocacy on policy issues specific to communications and telecommunications including media ownership, broadband, net neutrality, and universal service reform.

“During my visits, it’s wonderful to see how KNNB and other Tribal stations are identifying new internal procedures and developing their own resources, which they are willing to share with other tribal stations. It’s amazing to see how small tribal stations can do so much with so little,” concludes Dempsey.

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Native Public Media promotes healthy, independent, and engaged Native Communities through media access, control, and ownership.