Associated Press reports that several prominent Southwestern tribes are well on the way to securing radio signals for their areas. These include Navajo Technical College of Crownpoint, New Mexico, which has convinced the Federal Communications Commission that its area deserves Tribal Priority consideration:
Specifically, Petitioner provides evidence that: at least 50 percent of the proposed principal community contour would cover Navajo Nation Tribal Land; Crownpoint [New Mexico], the proposed community of license, is located on Navajo Nation Tribal Land; and the proposed facility would be the first local Tribally-owned commercial transmission service at the proposed community of license.
Back in 2010 the FCC issued new Tribal Priority standards for federally recognized Native American Tribes and Alaska Native Villages. In December of 2011 the agency followed up with additional rules. Tribal Priority is what it sounds like it is—radio license precedence for qualifying entities that are “51 percent or more owned or controlled by Tribes at least a portion of whose Tribal Lands lie within the proposed facility’s principal community contour.”
The bottom line is that the Commission has now set aside what could be described as a “Tribal Prioritzed” FM allotment for the Crownpoint region, which will give Navajo Technical College a huge advantage when the FCC issues a filing window for the relevant signal.
There are about 14,000 radio stations in the United States, and 41 are licensed to federal recognized tribes. That’s less than a third of one percent of the total, so at least this is a start.
Here’s a map (below) of the NTC license contour. Congratulations to both tribes!