The Native Village of Goodnews Bay and the Kongiganak Traditional Council are the first to apply to build a low power FM station which would allow all homes in their villages to receive a strong KYUK signal. According to their applications KYUK 640AM does not reach Goodnews Bay, while in Kongiganak reception was described as infrequent and poor. Both tribes are hoping a low cost, low power repeater will lead to strong KYUK reception.
“We were very excited to see their applications,” says KYUK’s Radio Operations and Programming Director Shane Iverson. “We know there’s a demand for KYUK where there’s currently no reception. Now villages can do something about that, and these two villages have taken the first step.”
There are other villages on the Lower Yukon and Kuskokwim coast who are eligible to apply, and have yet to do so, says Iverson.
This spring KYUK teamed up with the rural development program at the UAF- Kuskowim Campus in an effort to spread the word about the KYUK repeaters. Jason Smith, a senior in the rural development program, was selected to contact village tribes, corporations and schools.
“The feedback is largely positive,“ says Smith. “Almost everyone wants KYUK in their village, and when they learn how inexpensive it could be most want to learn more.”
Applying is free, says Smith, but there will be costs associated with building a low power station. He estimates it will cost at least $18,000 to build each station, but Iverson says villages don’t need to identify all the funding sources at this point. “A specific funding plan is down the road. For now we just need to know which villages are willing to be partners with us. That’s what applying is all about.”
Once the application period closes on Friday, April 4, KYUK will prioritize the applications based on their strength. KYUK will then select two villages for pilot projects. After those stations are running KYUK will build stations in the other villages that applied until every wanting village has KYUK.
“If you think your village might want a repeater at some point in the future, now is the time to act. Applying now gets your village in line.” says Iverson.