Sunday, July 17, 2011

Native American internet radio

Hey, it's good to see some activity on the blog again! Remember, this can be a forum for discussion as well as memories and stories. It doesn't have to be about KCAC and its personalities - it can carry that tradition forward, too.

In that spirit, here's an unusual suggestion: among the many fine radio stations that can be accessed through "live streaming" on the internet, try those affiliated with Native American communities. They are truly off the radar for all but a tiny fraction of the listening public, yet they can offer some really remarkable programming. Here are my favorites:

KTNN,"Voice of the Navajo Nation" based in Window Rock, Arizona, at (copy and paste into your browser). I swear, within a period of one hour I heard Lady Gaga, George Jones, the Rolling Stones, Native American drum songs, local country and rock bands, and talk segments that switch back and forth, often within the same sentence, from the Navajo language to English. Talk about variety! Like other Indian radio stations, it's geared toward local (usually rural) audiences, and maybe there's a bit too much conventional modern country music for my taste, but it does have a little bit of that freewheeling KCAC style where you're never quite sure what's going to happen next. There are real live DJ's, no corporate play lists, and the station is genuinely connected to the community that it serves. Sound quality on this stream is excellent.

KOHN, serving the Tohono O'odham Nation in Sells, Arizona, Highly eclectric, with programming blocks dedicated to everything under the sun: country, reggae, metal, oldies, 80's rock, roots/rockabilly, gospel, and news/talk in both O'odham and English. Best of all (because you won't hear it anywhere else)is waila, a unique and highly localized form of dance music that blends the amplified sounds of accordion, saxophone, bajo sexto, bass, and drums/percussion. Much of it resembles polka and norteno music, but cumbias are also popular and there are links to country, rock, blues, brass bands, and even polyrhythmic jazz explorations. Here's a YouTube link to a good cumbia-derived example: (Note: KOHN uses a very narrow bandwidth so sound quality suffers accordingly, but then KCAC was never excatly hi-fi either.)

Come on, all you aging KCAC fans - try something genuinely new and different! Corporate radio sucks, so these Native American stations present alternatives that I'll bet you never even knew existed. They're acquired tastes, to be sure, but give them a chance!


Marty said...

Attaboy Tom, good tip. I have enjoyed KTNN on the "terrestrial" radio at times in the past. Used to hear The Electric Barnyard on Sat evening. Heard a live broadcast from a rodeo once, in English and Navajo. Have to check them out online.

vagabondvet said...

Sweet! Hi, Tom, howdy, Marty, nice to see your handles here. Great tip, Tom, thanks for sharing!