Alaska-based Native broadcasting corporation receives national honor
Telling Alaska’s Story
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Jaclyn Sallee is the President and CEO of Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. It’s a nonprofit, Alaska Native-ran media center dedicated to bringing Native voices to Alaska and the nation.
Broadcast on 90.3 FM, KNBA was formed in the mid 90′s at still operates today as a AAA formatted station.
“KNBA was thought of to be the voice for Alaskans with an interest in Alaska Native issues,” Sallee said.
According to Sallee, the mission has always been to have Indigenous people tell their own stories and to have their own narrative. There are 68 tribally-owned radio stations in the United States, with 12 of them here in Alaska.
“I think it’s really important that the young people hear the stories of their, their history, the songs, the native languages,” Sallee said.
One of the programs under the Koahnic umbrella is titled Native America Calling. It’s broadcast out of Albuquerque, N.M. and is the nation’s only daily call-in radio program on public broadcasting stations. The hour-long program hosted by Shawn Spruce features experts and gives callers a chance to ask questions on important topics.
“Native America Calling really is a vehicle to educate and advocate for issues that are important to Native Americans, but also to non-native people to understand the issues that are being discussed on a daily basis,” Sallee said.
In March of 2023, Sallee and others involved with the show traveled to Washington D.C. as recipients of the 2021 National Humanities Medal from The National Endowment for the Humanities. Sallee received the medal from President Biden on behalf of the show.
“So exciting and an honor for Koahnic to be able to share this award with the stations and the listeners that really contribute to making it a success,” Sallee said.
It’s a recognition Sallee says is long overdue for a program that’s been on the air for more than 30 years and broadcast on 140 stations throughout Alaska and the nation.
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