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Area radio stations receive NTIA grants

The Department of Commerce National Telecommunications Infrastructure Administration has awarded two grants to sign on radio stations in two rural communities in Northeast Minnesota, said U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar.

The NTIA has awarded $238,000 to the Leech Lake Indian Reservation to purchase studio equipment and a transmitter for radio station KOJB FM.

"We have been working for five years to make this station a reality," said Leech Lake Band member Brad Walhof. "This will be the first time Leech Lake will have a radio station that will cover the entire reservation. We will broadcast programming to preserve the Ojibwe language and culture, as well as programming that will strengthen our ties and friendships with surrounding communities."

Northern Community Radio, which operates KAXE Radio in Grand Rapids, received a NTIA grant of $450,000 to sign on a radio station to serve the 13,000 residents who live in and around Bagley.

"Local news, weather, sports and community and cultural information is vital to every community," Oberstar said in a news release. "This program helps ensure that people in rural communities that are too small to attract commercial broadcaster, have access to information."