KYUK Unification Project: Transmitting KYUK with low power FM stations

by Shane Iverson on October 14, 2013

Since 1971 KYUK has taken pride in connecting much of the Y/K Delta with our radio service, found now at 640 AM. Unfortunately, our signal is too weak to reach most Yukon and coastal villages. Over the decades we’ve looked at several ways to reach villages like Emmonak at the mouth of the Yukon, and Mekoryuk on Nunivak Island, but the cost and logistics have proven too steep to overcome. Now we’ve found a low cost way to broadcast to anywhere in the Y/K, but it will take a partnership that will involve tribes, corporations and schools.

We are proposing to work with local organizations to build a low power FM station in every village that wants one. The technical term used by the Federal Communications Commission to describe these stations is Class D FM.

Class D FM stations can be used to repeat a mother-station (like KYUK). There is also the capability of switching to local broadcasts from there in the village. Special events, conferences, basketball games, student speeches, music shows, elder interviews, and anything imaginable could be broadcast from the village. It is also possible to feed that village broadcast back to KYUK for regional airing throughout the entire Y/K Delta.

Nearly a dozen villages in the Northwest Arctic are currently receiving KOTZ out of Kotzebue, and several villages around Dillingham now listen to KDLG; this is all a result of Class D FM construction in those villages. Similar stations exist all over Alaska.

It will cost about $18,000 to build, ship and install the most basic Class D FM station. That would allow the station to serve only as a KYUK repeater. To build, ship and install a versatile station that could perform local and educational broadcasts would cost closer to $30,000.

There are several options but we are leaning towards a tie line. A tie line would allow us to send KYUK to your site as compressed audio. Then a device at your station would convert that into high quality audio and transmit that high quality sound over the air. A tie line would also allow for you to send your local broadcasts back to KYUK for regional broadcasting.

Power Costs: Less than $1,000. The transmitters plug right into a wall socket.
Bandwidth: Minimal. Compressed audio doesn’t require much bandwidth or money.
Maintenance: $0-$2000 annually. The equipment is durable but nothing lasts forever.

There are approximately 20 villages that could benefit from a stronger KYUK signal. We are asking schools, tribes, municipalities and corporations to work together to invest in the creation of their own village station. Such organizations should complete a KYUK Class D FM Application. Then KYUK will prioritize the applications based on the village’s need, strength of local partnerships, and ability to invest capital into the project.

We will select two villages for our pilot projects set to start in 2014. We will then work year by year and village by village until every community that wants a strong KYUK signal has one.

To accomplish this we will rally support from regional and state funders, and we’ll host community based fundraising events throughout the Y/K Delta.

Application: KYUK Unification Project
If you would like to apply for a Class D FM station in your village please fill out the application found at our website,

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, April 4, 2014

Radio Director, Shane Iverson is KYUK’s contact for this project. If you want to be included in the conversation email:
Phone: (907) 543-0229

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