Public radio station debuts on Minnesota's Fond du Lac reservationA new public radio station nine years in the making debuted Wednesday on the Fond du Lac Reservation.
By: Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune
A new public radio station nine years in the making debuted Wednesday on the Fond du Lac Reservation.
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa began broadcasting at 89.1 FM WGZS. The Ojibwe word “giizis” means “moon.”
The signal for the mostly volunteer-driven station will reach south to Hinckley, east to Douglas County, west to McGregor and north to the southern part of the Iron Range, said Dan Huculak, operations manager for the station and a member of the band.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I heard we were going to start it.”
The station will broadcast various genres of music along with Fond du Lac news and events and public service announcements. Ojibwe language and cultural programming will be included, and the station is planning to add the national Native Voice One program and Associated Press news in the future. The signal strength is 50,000 watts.
“It’s something for our people to call their own and in their own voice,” said band Chairwoman Karen Diver, “and to highlight those issues that are important to our community that may not get as much coverage in traditional media.”
Programming will be developed during the first year, Diver said, while the band raises money for it. The station is in the Ojibwe School on the reservation, and there are plans for learning opportunities for students, with the possibility of working with students from the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and other colleges. The hours now are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Huculak hopes to expand to 24-hour coverage if the station has the volunteers and educational partnerships to do so.
“When you have a signal that far, it’s like having a Corvette in the garage,” he said. “You want to bring it out and drive it.”
Another well-known American Indian radio station is WOJB in Hayward.