Web stream outage for Native Voice One, KNBA, Native America Calling

90.3 KNBA Studio in Anchorage a few days after the 7.1 earthquake. (Photo courtesy of Native Voice One and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation)

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye

Radio station and its programs suffer the damages of the Anchorage earthquake

The Anchorage earthquake disrupted the web streams for Native Voice One, KNBA and Native America Calling less than two weeks ago. They are still under repair.

Listeners who tune into Native Voice One and KNBA by web stream will notice they cannot hear anything because of damaged equipment in Anchorage.

The Cook Inlet Tribal Council building that houses KNBA, Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, and Native Voice One was “severely damaged and it’s not safe for public traffic. It is closed,” according to Jaclyn Sallee, president and CEO of the corporation.

The damages are being assessed and cleaned up, and repairs are happening, Sallee said. Employees are working out of the offices in Alaska Public Media, also known as KSKA, which is a 10-minute drive away from the Cook Inlet building and a partner station of KNBA.

Koahnic Broadcast Corporation owns KNBA, a radio station that airs programs, such as American Indian Living, Diamond Dar’s Traveling Medicine Show, Earthsongs, Indigenous in Music, National Native News, Native America Calling, Trahant Reports, UnderCurrents, UnderCurrents Weekend and Voices from the Circle.

KNBA is still broadcasting, such as Native America Calling and National Native News, but not online right now. A few programs from the station are not available.

Listeners can hear Native America Calling online at WOJB or KUNM. Local station announcements may happen.

Rising Indigenous Voices Radio, also known as RIVR, was affected and is now streaming online again, said Charles Sather, chief engineer at the corporation.

Native Voice One sent out an update about the damages in a newsletter to their audience about setting up their livestream.

“We are working to set up an alternate site to get KNBA back on the air, and deliver our NV1 streaming service. We do not have a firm timeline but will be providing updates here,” said in the Dec. 10 newsletter.

Even though the building suffered damages, nobody from the station was hurt. Just “minor cuts and bruises,” said Sallee.

Besides repairments of the roads, aftershocks remain a challenge.

Since the 7.1 earthquake, there have been more than 2,800 aftershocks, small tremors measuring around the 4.0 area, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Charles Sather, chief engineer of Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, said they always get these aftershocks. It’s just “unnerving” after a 7.1 earthquake.

“Sometimes we feel them and sometimes we don’t,” he said.

An expert of the Alaska Earthquake Center told Anchorage Daily News that these aftershocks can last months after the earthquake.

Sallee said they come so often that they are starting to “blend together” for her but they have “everyone on edge.”

Sallee was walking her dog the morning the earthquake hit.

“I was outside on the pavement and you could feel the rolling onto the pavement and a lot of snapping and street lights were flashing because the power was going out, car alarms going off, the shaking of cars was happening,” she said. “There was a little boy on his way to the school walking and he was very frightened so we just stuck together as it continued to go on.”

Her number one worry was the radio station. She ran back to her house and immediately called Sather to see what happened at the station.

Sather was at home watching everything go pitch black and hearing stuff fly out of the cabinets and pictures falling off the walls.

He heard the power went out at the station during their morning show, which caused them to go off air. The building was evacuated.

Next worry was the tower the station uses. It was near the epicenter of the earthquake, Sallee said.

“We thought that our tower could’ve been damaged that we broadcast from so that was one of our first responses was to check the tower and that was working fine and we were able to get back on the air later that day. We were offering programming from KSKA until we could re-establish our regular programming,” she said.

Radio is still “an essential part of any emergency preparedness kit,” according to The Verge and the preparing-for-an-earthquake checklist provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“That’s how I was getting my information from the house, the radio,” Sather said. “I was fielding calls from the station along with other engineers with Alaska Public Media to determine what to and trying to access stuff at the time, and how to get everything back up and running.”

The station is collecting donations if anyone would like to help. Listeners can donate to KNBA’s website.

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Diné, is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter:@jourdanbb. Email:jbennett-begaye@indiancountrytoday.com