NCI History

Native Communications Inc. (NCI) is a public broadcaster in Manitoba; we are an Aboriginal service organization offering radio programming that is designed for and by Native people. We have been broadcasting in Northern Manitoba since September 1971, providing Aboriginal language and cultural programming. We are a non-profit educational / cultural entity that has registered charity status.

The vision and initiative to create an Aboriginal radio station came from the grassroots, from a group of community members who recognized the need for a broadcaster that could speak directly to Native people all over Manitoba – regardless of geographic or language barriers. A group of people from Cross Lake, Wabowden, and South Indian Lake were instrumental in forming a committee that later evolved into NCI. Since the early beginnings of NCI, our Board of Directors has proudly been comprised of all Native people striving to meet the communication needs of all communities throughout Manitoba.

In 1985, NCI ventured into television production and NCI-TV programs have appeared on CBC Manitoba, North of Winnipeg, and on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) www.aptn.ca. NCI-TV has produced hundreds of programs including current affairs programs, children shows, and music events. NCI still provides 1 – 2 special programs per year for APTN.

NCI radio is regarded as “The Voice of Aboriginal People.” Throughout Manitoba NCI is a very real part of the Aboriginal community – the same as trapping, fishing, and bannock! The NCI-FM radio network currently reaches 98% of Manitoba via 57 transmitters from Winnipeg to Churchill. We are the first and only Aboriginal radio network of our kind in Manitoba. NCI is currently the largest Native radio network in Canada.

Our weekday programming schedule brings you the hottest country hits with a mix of the best new Aboriginal artists. We devote our evenings to the best Native talent and whether they sing pow wow, blues, country, or rock you’ll hear them all here on NCI.

NCI-FM broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 57 FM radio transmitters located throughout the province that reaches over 75 communities. Two of NCI’s major transmitters have a total power of 200,000 watts. In 2005, NCI began streaming its broadcast online at www.ncifm.com allowing listeners across the world to tune in anytime, at any place. Our audio streaming also allows loyal listeners to send and receive greetings and song requests over great geographical distance, bridging the gap between friends and family members alike.

NCI FUNDING

Throughout our history, NCI has continuously provided an excellent broadcast service within limited financial means. The Northern Native Broadcast Access Program (NNBAP) of the Department of Canadian Heritage funds our Native language evening programming. Our self-generated revenue funds the remainder of our operational costs. We earn this revenue from sources such as;

  • Radio advertising and the sale of commercial spots and program sponsorships. We have many great companies and agencies throughout Manitoba and nationally that advertise on NCI, sponsor your favourite NCI radio programs, and provide prize packages for all our great contests and prize giveaways. As well, sponsorship makes it possible for NCI to bring you exciting events such as live concerts, and other great events across our province;
  • Purchased airtime for community events including live talent shows and gospel jam broadcasts. Talent shows primarily air on Friday nights, while gospel jams are aired on Saturday and Sunday evenings. This type of programming gives communities around Manitoba the unique opportunity to broadcast their own local shows across the province;
  • Media BINGO and hall BINGOS also contribute to NCI’s funding. NCI’s “Mini-Loonie Pot” is heard every Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. Don’t forget, when you play any of NCI’s Bingo games you are directly contributing to the operational costs and growth of the NCI radio network.