KCIE Radio Youth Program Grows Its Own Management

DULCE, NM – In the 1980s, as Nations in Indian Country began to find footing in the media space, the time also gave rise to a growing number of radio stations including Jicarilla Apache Nation’s KCIE Radio.

Today, KCIE operates strongly with a team of individuals, each having their own story of how they found their way to public radio. This includes the experience of new General Manager Mariah Elote, whose time with the station began as a student employee. KCIE Radio, broadcasting over the miles of mountains and forest, offers summer youth employment through the Tribe. Elote spent her summers during high school and college working at the station.

“To my surprise, it led me to a career in public radio,” reflects Elote over her start with KCIE. “As a youth employee you were allowed to pick a place of employment, which for me was easy at the time since music was everything to me. That’s what mainly drove me to choose KCIE. In the early 2000s, music was not easily accessible as it is now through apps like Apple Music, YouTube and Spotify. One of my first memories of KCIE is walking into the music room which housed all the CDs. It was exciting having access to so much music. I became a DJ at 16-years-old, and KCIE became my favorite place.”

Her years of experience working with KCIE has taught Elote a few lessons. She learned that public radio is more than playing favorite or classic tunes. It is about being a voice in her community and providing radio programming that is local and relevant to the citizens of her Nation.

“We are the first to get out emergency information to the community and serve as a helping hand when it comes to teaching our language by playing Abbachi for the day, which is a short program that teaches a phrase in our Jicarilla Apache language. We aren’t just a radio station but a vital outlet of communication to the Jicarilla Apache, community of Dulce and surrounding areas,” explains Elote.