A new radio station that organizers hope will strengthen the voice of the Fond du Lac Reservation has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission.
It’s the second Minnesota American Indian reservation to receive approval for operation.
The station will have the call letters WGZS, from the Ojibwe word “giizis” for moon.
“People are very interested … in young people having a voice and being engaged in the media,” said Karen Diver, chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, “and some of our elders will be able to get out their stories and interests.”
The Wisconsin Lac Courte Oreilles and Red Cliff bands of Lake Superior Chippewa have radio stations, and the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa in Nett Lake received approval to start a noncommercial station last spring. It also owns WELY in Ely.
“There are very few [American Indian stations] east of the Mississippi,” said Sidnee Kellar, general manager of Lac Courte Oreille’s well-known WOJB-FM in Hayward.
She said native radio is important to reservation communities because they are often isolated from bigger markets, and it gives them a format for news about their own areas.
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