White Earth Radio Show Provides Opportunities

Nov 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 18-2: Traditional Wisdom Our Strength, Tribal College News

The seed for a unique tribal college radio program was planted when White Earth Tribal and Community College (WETCC, Mahnomen, MN) needed an advertising campaign to promote its academic programs and services.

Pierre Callies, WETCC head of Business and Information Technology, says, “We wanted more people to be aware of the wonderful opportunities here.” One day he walked across the street to the KRJM 101.5 radio station and gained owner Gary Weber’s support for a radio show.

Next WETCC got lucky when the University of Minnesota organized the Minnesota College Goal Sunday, an information campaign on college financial aid, and selected the Mahnomen Shooting Star Casino as one of its sites.

Judy Swanson, financial aid staff member at the University of Minnesota, immediately embraced WETCC’s efforts and offered to sponsor the first five shows. NASA, Arvig Communication, and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium followed shortly after as sponsors.

“We wanted a radio show that was fun, entertaining, interesting, self-supported, and promoted WETCC without sounding like a television infomercial,” says Callies.

Jeff Jentz and Scott Ebsen, WETCC faculty members, offered to help develop and host the radio show. Jentz suggested short indigenous and intercultural readings, and Ebsen proposed the concept of an open conversation.

“We wanted the White Earth Tribal and Community College Radio Show to allow people to get together and discuss the bright future of the White Earth Reservation and the Anishinaabe culture,” Callies explains.

In January 2006, Doreen Stone, WETCC financial aid specialist, participated in the first show, which received a large number of calls afterwards.

Today the White Earth Tribal and Community College Radio Show is a reality and a part of the White Earth Reservation cultural initiative. The college hopes to receive enough sponsorship to air the show every week this year. Possible ways to broadcast over the Internet are also being explored.

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