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Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe prepares to launch radio station

Work continues on the new headquarters for the new radio studio in Eagle Butte. Listeners can find the station, which should be operational by July 1, at 93.5 FM on the radio dial. Photo by Tom Eagle Staff

A radio station for Eagle Butte
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Today
Managing Editor

EAGLE BUTTE –– For decades the airwaves above the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation were filled with the tunes of Credence Clearwater Revival, Waylon, Willie and the Boys streamed live from KLND 89.5 FM radio in Little Eagle, South Dakota.

But beginning July 1st, members of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe will begin enjoying their very own radio station, streaming live from Cheyenne-Eagle Butte at 93.5 FM on the radio dial.

According to project manager Tom Eagle Staff, Cheyenne River relied on KLND for broadcasting and the sister tribes enjoyed a good working relationship for years.

“What they were doing before then is Tribal Ventures was working with KLND and trying to enhance their programming so that it would include Cheyenne River programming as well,” Eagle Staff said.

In 2003, CRST was one of three tribes chosen by the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF) to address the root causes of poverty. NWAF invested $9.5 million dollars, with a CRST match of $1.5 million with the goal of boosting the reservation economy. Cheyenne River Tribal Ventures was the entity created to administer the grant and devise a ten year plan for poverty reduction.

Part of the plan they mapped out for Cheyenne River included an initiative to improve communication reservation wide to strengthen unity amongst the people. So in 2011 they partnered with KLND and created a remote broadcast studio located in the Lakota Technologies Inc. building with equipment and a portable broadcast unit purchased with funding from the initiative.

However KLND began experiencing problems with continuity in their broadcasting and Eagle Staff set out to help them but found himself on a different path.

“If you remember for two years in a row KLND went off the air for about six months. The second year it went off the air, I came in and approached Eileen Briggs director of Tribal Ventures at that time to see if they could help KLND,” he said.

Briggs informed him about the CRST initiative for improved communication and gave him the nod to conduct a feasibility study on possibility of Cheyenne River constructing their own radio station.

Briggs gave him back ground information she had received from a Federal Communications Commission workshop she attended.

“I started following up on that and found that the FCC had a new rule at that time called the Tribal Priority Rule. Because the FCC didn’t have any windows open at that time for new non-commercial FM radio stations like KLND, KILI, KINI and other PBS radio stations,” Eagle Staff said.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: A radio station for Eagle Butte

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