The CIRI Foundation made a Heritage Project grant of $20,000 to Koahnic Broadcast Corporation to support KNBA’s annual broadcast coverage of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention October 17-19, 2019.

KBC 2019 AFN Convention coverage included:

  • Gavel-to-Gavel coverage of the Convention from the Carlson Center in Fairbanks from October 17-19, 2019.
  • A one-hour daily interview program, “Alaska’s Native Voice” focusing on a relevant issue.
  • A daily five-minute AFN Convention news recap.
  • Stories from the Convention were filed for KNBA and National Native News.
  • Stories from the First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference were filed for the statewide broadcasts and National Native News.    


The broadcasts were aired on KNBA-FM, streamed online, and made available to stations across the state via Koahnic’s Native radio distribution service, Native Voice One (NV1).  Our 2019 gavel-to-gavel broadcasts were carried in whole or in part by 18 Alaskan stations and 48 repeaters and translators, from Utqiaġvik to Yakutat.

In addition, we increased the reach of our AFN coverage with feature stories on the AFN Convention and the Elders and Youth Conference that were broadcast nationwide on National Native News both during and after the Convention. Koahnic also provided a “Young Media Makers” session at the annual First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference, October 14-17, 2019 at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.

Youth participants produced two short radio features that were broadcast on all stations that carried our gavel-to-gavel broadcasts, including KNBA. The features focused on the theme of the conference, “Qaneryararput Yugtun Riniqerput/Qaneryararput Cugtun Kayuqerput,” or “Language is Our Super Power.”

The 2019 AFN Convention was held at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. AFN’s chosen theme for this year’s Convention was “Good Government, Alaska Driven,” and top leaders addressed the delegation.

Speakers and panelists included: keynote speaker Pete Kaiser, Musher, 2019 Iditarod Champion; Kevin Allis, CEO, National Congress of American Indians; U.S. Attorney General William Barr (via live video link); U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski; U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan; U.S. Congressman Don Young (via live video link); Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; Katherine Gottlieb, President and CEO, Southcentral Foundation; Melanie Bahnke, President and CEO, Kawerak, Inc.; Gloria O’Neill, President and CEO, Cook Inlet Tribal Council; and Sophie Minich, President & CEO, CIRI.

The gavel-to-gavel broadcasts were hosted by NV1 Network Manager Bob Peterson (Yup’ik). Peterson provided a description and analysis of the Convention’s proceedings while identifying and reporting on trends and themes of the Convention. During breaks in the proceedings, Peterson interviewed a variety of guests, and other team members contributed informed commentary during the broadcast.

KNBA’s AFN production team included; Program Director Loren Dixon; News and Public Affairs Producer Tripp Crouse (Ojibwe); producer Emily Schwing; National Native News Anchor/Producer Antonia Gonzales (Navajo); and NV1 Station Relations Rep. Nola Daves Moses.  Kristi Shallenberger, from KYUK in Bethel, joined us as a second producer through a competitive application process that supports collaboration between KNBA and rural stations.

KNBA also produced a 1-hour pre-produced show broadcast at 8:00 AM and Noon each day, “Alaska’s Native Voice.”  Hosted by National Native News Anchor/Producer Antonia Gonzales, and produced by Gonzales and Schwing, the program featured interviews that delved deeper into topics and issues raised during the convention proceedings. The “Alaska’s Native Voice” programs also included the five-minute AFN daily news segment. The three archived programs of “Alaska’s Native Voice,” and the entire broadcast, are available on-demand at the KNBA website at and the NV1 website at

The convention’s focus was of immediate interest to all Alaska Natives and to non-Natives as well.  The coverage allowed KNBA to make information available to Alaskans throughout the state. For those who could not travel or leave work to attend the proceedings, this was information that they might not otherwise have had access to.

We promoted an online listener survey to gather audience feedback, with results indicating that respondents felt that the broadcast coverage had increased their understanding of the issues raised during the convention.

First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference 2019

Preceding the AFN Convention, Koahnic and Alaska Teen Media Institute (ATMI) worked with Elders & Youth Conference attendees for 2019 “Young Media Makers” training and production sessions. More than 60 participants took part in an interactive 90-minute training session on the first day of the conference, and students produced two short radio features for broadcast.

Koahnic staff providing the training included Jaclyn Sallee (Iñupiaq/CIRI Shareholder), KBC President and CEO; Antonia Gonzales (Navajo), the Anchor/Producer of National Native News; Angela Jenkins (Yup’ik), Resource Development Specialist for The RIVR; and NV1 Network Manager Bob Peterson (Yup’ik).


Indigefi Host/Producer Alexis Sallee (Iñupiaq/CIRI descendant) and producer Tomás Karmelo Amaya (Yaqui/Zuni/Tarahumara) also provided audio and video training for the session. In addition, Alexis and Tomás debuted a new video production of Indigefi, “Who We Are,” to a full audience at the main stage of the Carlson Center on October 15. Presenting with them was Iñupiaq artist Tristan Morgan, who is featured in the video, which was shot in Nome and Shishmaref, and features an Alaska Native artist (Morgan) responding to the changing climate in her traditional homeland.

The two “Young Media Makers” features produced by the participants were broadcast as part of our gavel-to-gavel coverage of the AFN Convention. Fifteen participants completed a participant survey following the sessions, with responses indicating that the training had resulted in an increase in media skills.