This past May, we spent nine days driving around
the southwestern United States visiting some of
the 33 Native American reservations that have
their own radio stations. We knew before the trip
that tribal radio would be unique but there was
no way to predict how much so. Every station we
visited was a different mix of professional old
hands, volunteers, elders, youth, tradition, and
innovation. The more community members we spoke to,
the more clear it became that radio, often dismissed
as outdated for the Web 2.0 era, was the most
essential medium of communication in Indian country,
whether it was serving a reservation the size of a
small European country or one just a few square
Jesse Hardman and Maura O'Connor recently drove
around the southwestern United States visiting
some of the 33 Native American reservations that
have their own radio stations. They said it became
clear that "radio, often dismissed as outdated for
the Web 2.0 era, was the most essential medium of
communication in Indian country."
Airchecks from these stations sound alive and
connected, peopled by a real range of characters.
On Transom, Jesse and Maura put together a report,
full of photos and audio, and we also created two
radio pieces. One is an NPR-style news magazine
piece. The other is a Transom-style collage.
Listen to both. Tell us what you think. On our
discussion board, we'll be joined by some of the
staff of the tribal stations and they'd like to
hear from you.
You'll notice that we have two versions of the
Tribal Radio audio. A fast one and a slow one.
At Transom, we've decided It's time to start
a SLOW RADIO movement. We're often complicit in
hurrying things up to get on to the next thing.
It's our fault too. We are consumers and makers
of Fast Media. We've distorted time. We get
impatient and want our information served up
efficiently. But we don't feel always good
about it. Why can't we wait until a person finishes
her thought, takes a long breath, is silent for
a moment? At Transom, we want to champion more
radio that's willing to take its time, that even
insists on it. We're not being naive. We recognize
the value of speedy information delivery, but also
believe there may be a developing appetite for the
anti-micro-burst of information, for that which
slows the pulse, quiets the mind, and allows the
ear to lead the imagination: Slow Radio.