Native Communications Inc. (NCI) operates in Manitoba as a public broadcaster. NCI is an Indigenous service organization offering radio programming throughout Manitoba, designed for and by Indigenous people. We are a non-partisan organization. NCI is in business to provide a service to our listeners and viewers. We are accountable to a Board of Directors made up of Indigenous people.
NCI has been broadcasting in Northern Manitoba since September of 1971, providing Indigenous language and cultural programming. The vision and initiative to create an Indigenous radio station came from the grassroots. A group of people from Cross Lake, Wabowden, and South Indian Lake were instrumental in forming a committee which later evolved into NCI.
In 1985, NCI ventured into television production. NCI-TV programs have appeared on CBC Manitoba, North of Winnipeg, and on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). NCI-TV has produced hundreds of programs, including current affairs programs and children shows.
NCI is a non-profit organization and, as an educational/cultural entity, has registered charity status. NCI radio is regarded as “The Voice of Indigenous People”. Throughout Manitoba NCI is a very real part of the Indigenous community – the same as trapping, fishing, and bannock! The NCI-FM radio network currently reaches 98% of Manitoba: from Churchill to Winnipeg – “you are in NCI country!” We are the first and only Indigenous radio network of our kind in Manitoba.
NCI-FM broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 59 FM radio transmitters located throughout the province, reaching over 75 communities. Two of NCI’s major transmitters (105.5-FM Winnipeg/Selkirk and 91.5-FM Brandon/Westman) have a total power of 200,000 watts. NCI-FM is currently the largest Indigenous radio network in Canada.
Throughout our history, NCI has operated within tight financial constraints. NCI receives some federal government funding through the Northern Native Broadcast Access Program under the Department of Canadian Heritage.
NCI’s self-generated revenue, at this time, comes from several sources:
(Radio Advertising – The sale of commercial spots and program sponsorships)
1. Purchased air-time for community events, which includes live talent shows and gospel jam broadcasts. Talent shows primarily air on Friday nights, while gospel jam events are broadcast on Saturday and Sunday evenings.
2. Media BINGO, and, to a lesser extent, hall BINGOS assist in funding. NCI’s current media bingo, the “Mini-Loonie Pot” is heard every Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. Every card sold contributes to the operational costs and growth of the NCI network.