July 18, 2006

Native network tried again

Group hopes to launch first American Indian cable channelFlipping through TV channels, Jay Winter Nightwolf noticed something: While blacks, Latinos and other minority groups had niche cable networks, American Indians had no national TV outlet for their issues--everything from tribal sovereignty to language preservation.

The Washington-area radio personality has joined a group of Virginia broadcast journalists and other media professionals to launch Native American Television, joining a handful of groups racing to establish the United States' first American Indian cable channel.


Anonymous said...

While there is a Black ethnic channel that I know of (and maybe more than one), it is probably not correct to say there are Latino networks. Telemundo, etc primarily exist for language reasons, not ethnic reasons. There are large numbers of Spanish speakers to be served by the Spanish language networks.

The key to success of a Native television network is to position itself to at least be inviting to non-Indians. That gives the network opportunity to appeal to an ethnic minority that is rather small in the big demographic picture. They could also consider branching out to all of the Americas as well.

Rob said...

The Native networks may need to do what this blog is doing--i.e., cast its net wide. What about broadcasting old TV shows such as Northern Exposure or old movies such as Last of the Mohicans (with permission, of course)? In other words, do whatever it takes to bring in a mainstream audience that's only marginally interested in Indians.

Anonymous said...

Some wise person once said to me that all those cable networks eventually evolve into something that shows old movies all the time. This might be the case with NTV or whatever you want to call it, for better or worse. They could show the better movies out there. Also, they could do something like show the bad stereotypical movies (such as the old westerns: we know there are more of these than the good ones) but with intelligent modern commentary added.

I'm not so sure about showing entire stretches "Northern Exposure". Much of it is non-Native related. Someone will tune in to an episode that is about nothing other than Rob Morrow talking to the astronaut guy and wonder "Why is this on the Native American TV network"?

Beyond the criticisms, here's a possible constructive idea. Air NPR's "Native America Calling" as part of the TV network. You'll basically have a TV camera in a radio studio. Don Imus does this on MSNBC, and it works better than you'd think. This would not require much budget outlay.

Such a network could also compete for Emmys with a well-done series of adaptations of Sherman Alexie's short stories.

Fat chances I'd ever see it, though. My cable does not carry BET or ANY Spanish language/Latino channel.