TEXT OF STORY
Steve Chiotakis: The Federal Communications Commission has given a boost to those who want to start a tribal radio station. It’s issued a rule that gives Native Americans preference over other applicants. Critics say the rule is unfair. From Phoenix, Peter O’Dowd reports.
Peter O’Dowd: Of the more than 13,000 radio stations licensed in the U.S., a mere 41 belong to Native American communities. So for those who live on reservations, reliable information can be hard to come by. Just ask Gail Haozous from the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Eastern Arizona:
Gail Haozous: They want language classes, they want the weather, the local news, they also want the national news.
Hazous is opening the tribes new FM station, KYAY, and more tribal stations are likely to pop up now that the FCC has essentially guaranteed radio licenses for Native American applicants. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps says that will meet his agency’s obligation to make radio accessible to everyone.
Michael Copps: When it came to Indian Country, we weren’t doing that. So now we’re going to give a priority.
Of course, there is opposition. Chris Imlay is a communications lawyer in Maryland:
Chris Imlay: They have to be careful about how they go about policies that prefer minority applicants over non-minority applicants.
Imlay says the court has overturned previous FCC attempts to give preference to minorities.
In Phoenix, I’m Peter O’Dowd for Marketplace.
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