National Native News moves to New Mexico

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A nationally-syndicated Native American radio program is ending its 16-year history in Anchorage and moving to New Mexico.

National Native News, one of Koahnic Broadcasting Corp.'s three nationally-syndicated Native American radio programs, will be moved to Albuquerque and consolidated with the national call-in program Native America Calling.

The consolidation was a reaction to cuts from some of the previous underwriters and donors, said Cassandra Shumate, the director of marketing and development for Koahnic.

''It's been a change in the long-term funding structure of the program,'' Shumate told the Alaska Journal of Commerce. ''We wanted to find a way to keep the program healthy but operating within a budget.''

National Native News' Anchorage anchor, Bernadette Chato, hosted her final program Feb. 21.

Tina James-Tafoya, the associate producer of the call-in program, will be the new host and producer of National Native News.

Shumate said the decision to move the newscast to New Mexico was motivated by financial reasons, but will provide some logistical benefits.

''It's much more feasible to run one cast that's producing two shows than it is to have two casts producing shows at different hours,'' she said.

In Alaska, the program was recorded and uploaded to satellite for national transmission by 1:30 in the afternoon, Shumate said. That meant affiliate stations on Eastern Standard Time got the broadcast at 5:30, often too late for the news to make a local evening broadcast, she said.

''We're hoping that by being two time zones closer to the East Coast, it helps our affiliates there in broadcasting our news,'' Shumate said.

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