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Support Native Radio Stations

Melissa Begay

After two years, Native Public Media (NPM) held its first in-person training in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5, 2021. The coronavirus pandemic converted NPM’s in-person program services, including broadcaster training and education, to go virtual. Six broadcasters from four Native radio stations participated in the one-day training focused on Underwriting and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Community Service Grant (CSG) requirements. The participants were fully vaccinated and took extra safety measures.

The pandemic created many challenges, explicitly declining underwriting revenue for Native radio stations. Underwriting is financial support for public radio stations and offers added value for businesses. Businesses have an opportunity to provide financial support for noncommercial stations to receive recognition on-air and to connect with the station’s audience.

NPM’s network includes 56 noncommercial radio stations across Indian Country. They must meet the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) underwriting requirements to preserve the nature of the noncommercial station by protecting the public’s use and enjoyment of commercial-free broadcasts.

The broadcasters learned about the difference between underwriting and advertising, developing strong underwriting policies, and awareness of proper financial recordkeeping requirements. Additionally, the participants received an overview of the CPB CSG and how underwriting contributes to the CSG non-federal financial support requirement.

Native radio stations need to maintain compliance and increase their underwriting dollars. They are on the front lines of communication within Native communities. In addition to serving as a primary news source for community members, Tribal broadcast stations also coordinate public responses during times of emergency and disaster. To learn more or support your local Native radio stations, check out the Native Radio Network.


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