Indigenous radio station in Manitoba celebrates 50 years
An Indigenous radio station is celebrating 50 years on the air in Manitoba.
NCI-FM (Native Communications Incorporated) has been broadcasting in the province since 1971.
On Friday, NCI-FM CEO David McLeod said when modern technology like radio and television started broadcasting in northern Manitoba, it was lacking Indigenous voices.
“There was no representation of who Indigenous people were,” McLeod said. “People saw that need and recognized it.”
NCI-FM started as a grassroots initiative in September 1971 to provide Indigenous language and cultural programming to northern Manitoba.
The non-profit public broadcaster now has 57 transmitters throughout the province and NCI-FM is the largest Indigenous radio network in Canada.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about the equipment,” McLeod said. “It’s about connecting with people.”
McLeod said he credits NCI’s success with its ability to share stories and issues through Indigenous voices.
“People can reflect, they can hear themselves,” he explained. “When it comes from our community, there’s a different grasp or understanding.”
NCI-FM celebrated its 50th anniversary at its Winnipeg-based station with the unveiling of a new mural and a live performance from Cree recording artist Ernest Monias.
- With files from APTN's Michelle Karlenzig