Nahanni Butte hopes to build radio studio

Melvin Vital, left, a Nahanni Butte resident, practises his interviewing technique during a Cabin Radio workshop in March 2019
Melvin Vital, right, a Nahanni Butte resident, practises his interviewing technique during a Cabin Radio workshop in March 2019. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Four Nahanni Butte residents attended a Cabin Radio workshop in Fort Simpson last week as they prepare to launch their own radio programming.

The community of around 100 people hopes to build a new radio studio and begin broadcasting music, live interviews, and coverage of important meetings.

“I think it’d be beneficial for the younger generation folks to get more involved in this technology, and it would be beneficial to make community announcements,” said Eric Betsaka, Nahanni Butte’s community foreman.

Betsaka was among those participating in a three-day workshop at the Liidlii Kue First Nation in Fort Simpson, which operates its own community radio station: CFLK.



CFLK usually broadcasts a repeat of Indigenous-language, Yellowknife-based radio station CKLB.

However, the First Nation is now training youth and Elders in the community to begin their own broadcasts, ranging from music shows to discussion and announcements from the chief.

Those shows join regular live broadcasts of bingo nights to listeners in the village.

During the workshops, Cabin Radio staff help participants to understand basic operation of radio equipment, then work with attendees to develop their on-air speaking skills.



Last week’s workshop also included a session on radio equipment and installation, specifically designed for the Nahanni Butte project.

This marks Cabin Radio’s third visit to the First Nation to conduct the workshops, which give a new voice to local youth while allowing adult residents to create broadcasts in Dene Zhatıé.

The first visit saw four youth create new shows on CFLK and also included a Christmas message broadcast by Chief Gerald Antoine, himself a former CKLB broadcaster.