You’ll soon be able to hear Blackfoot, Cree and other Treaty 7 languages daily on the airwaves in Calgary as a radio station with a focus on Indigenous languages, news and bands as well as country music is getting set to air by September.
The CRTC recently approved grant licenses for new Indigenous radio stations in five cities, including in Calgary.
“It’s been 30 years in the making. It was a great day when we got the news and something we are very happy about,” said Bert Crowfoot, CEO of the Aboriginal Multimedia Society of Alberta, who is responsible for setting up the station in Calgary.
Crowfoot, who currently runs the Indigenous radio station CFWE (90.5) in Edmonton, said the Calgary station will follow much of the same format and have about nine to 12 employees.
Languages and mixed programming
Meanwhile, he’s scouting for studio space in and around Calgary, hoping it will be up and running in three months. He’s also waiting to hear what the station’s call letter will be. The frequency will be 88.1.
Crowfoot says initially the station will rely on feeds from Edmonton where necessary until everything is in place.
Programming will begin at 6 a.m. with a prayer in the Blackfoot language, and segue into other language programming. The station will play mainly country music, blending traditional country music and about 30 per cent content from Indigenous artists, including powwow music and English spoken word.
“I like to look at ourselves as a bridge between the two cultures,” Crowfoot told the Calgary Eyeopener on Tuesday.
Though the target market is First Nations people, Crowfoot says, he expects non-Indigenous listeners will tune in for the music as they do with the Edmonton station.
“I hear it all the time…they hear country music they don’t hear very often on the other stations,” he said.
News with Indigenous perspective
The languages listeners will hear include…