POLACCA, Ariz. - Hopi community radio station KUYI can now be heard throughout the world. KUYI is now streaming on the Internet and can be heard as it airs.
Anyone with Internet access can log onto www.KUYI.net and listen. In one 24-hour period last week, KUYI had 2,000 listeners - including folks from Thailand and Egypt.
Richard Davis, KUYI station manager said this brings Hopi radio to another level of responsibility and respect.
In the past, the station operated knowing that only Hopi and its neighbors could listen. The area audience had a frame of reference for knowledge about Hopi, but now everything about Hopi from the culture to the staff has to be explained in a personable way.
However, Davis said the priority for the station remains the same. "We'll be attempting to be as professional as possible. We need to be sharper and tighter. Everything we've always strived for is magnified."
Davis noted that there are hundreds of other radio stations online, but he doesn't feel KUYI will be in competition with them.
"We have our own little niche," he said.
There are between five to 10 Native American streaming radio stations throughout the country. Davis said setting up the streaming was challenging because it meant installing equipment including a new hard drive. It also meant matching the Internet signal with the FM signal.
Davis credits radio engineer Mike Woodworth from Peak Broadcasting out of Show Low with ensuring that the Internet and FM signals had the clear and proper strength. He also credited Hopi Telecommunications with increasing its bandwidth, which paves the way for the rest of the Hopi Reservation to have quicker Internet speed. The external streaming was accomplished with the help of Public Radio Interactive out of Boston, Mass., an arm of National Public Radio.
Going on the Internet calls for KUYI to keep more detailed records. In the past, they just had to report how many hours of airtime they had each year, although they did keep a play list. Now, KUYI has to keep a play list for days and weeks. They have to report every second of every song that's played.
"It's extremely laborious," he said.
Davis said royalties go to the three big record companies: Sony, Columbia and MGM, but nothing goes to the other artists.
"Small artists don't see a dime. They are squeezing money out of people who keep it alive," he said.
Davis said aside from getting more listeners the streaming could also bring in more underwriters.
"We hope to see more people financially helping the station. We can accept appropriate underwriting from anywhere in the world," he said.
KUYI has been on the air for almost 10 years. Davis said this would not have been possible if not for all the people who previously worked at the station.
"We want to thank everyone who came before and those who will come in the future," he said.