Clyburn: Tribal Radio is Critical


Mignon ClyburnCommunity radio reform comes in several flavors, and the FCC is plugging away at it.

So said Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to the Tribal Radio Summit in Phoenix on Wednesday.

Citing Nielsen Data, she said 91% of Americans 12+ tune into AM/FM weekly in 2015. However data from Edison Research points to online radio growing — rising from 53% listening online monthly in 2015 to 57% this year.

As of 2014, 73% listened on smartphones, while 61% listened on desktops and laptops.

Getting to the topic at hand, Tribal areas were under-radioed when Clyburn supported licensing more such stations through a Tribal Radio Priority in 2010 which prioritizes American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages seeking FM allotments and submitting AM and NCE FM filing window applications.

Now, more tribal radio stations exist and more are on the way, she promised.

The agency recently sought public input on a new tribal radio allocation proposed by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to serve Eagle Butte, South Dakota. She encourages the public to file comments while the docket is still open. The FCC wants to hear “why community radio, especially Tribally licensed radio, is so critically important,” Clyburn said, noting this is the 6th time a tribe or Tribally-owned entity has used the Tribal Priority.”