New Tribal Radio Signal on Ute Mountain Connects Two Sister Tribes

May 21, 2020

The new 100.9 FM Tribal Radio transmitter is located on Hermano Peak on Ute Mountain (the image of the knees), with this view of the toes and the canyon country below.

After three years of preparation, KSUT has realized its dream of connecting the two sister tribes of Southwest Colorado: the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute, through Tribal Radio. A new FM signal broadcasting from Hermano Peak on Ute Mountain in Towaoc went live on Thursday, May 14 at 100.9 FM.

"Sincere thanks to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe for their cooperation and support in allowing KSUT Tribal Radio to broadcast from Hermano Peak, said Sheila Nanaeto, Tribal Radio Station Manager. "We're excited to provide unique programming to our sister tribe and appreciate their support with this endeavor. We hope this additional communication service addresses a need for those who don't have direct access to other kinds of media."

In June 2017, KSUT became aware of an opportunity to acquire two donated FM licenses, intended for non-commercial radio stations serving Native American populations, according to Tami Graham, KSUT Executive Director.  A proposal was submitted and KSUT was selected to receive two of the 10 available.  Planning began immediately, with engineering studies to assess what frequencies would work from Ute Mountain without interfering with other local signals. FCC applications were approved, including permission to temporarily broadcast at the existing site for the license in Reserve, NM, while the new broadcast site was being prepared on Ute Mountain. This included receipt of a construction permit to move the license to Towaoc in 2019. 

KSUT's Rob Rawls (right), and engineer Jim Burt finalizing work on the new signal on Ute Mountain.

Following 17 separate trips to the site, with KSUT staff, engineers, tower climbers, and a delay due to snow, KSUT Tribal Radio can now be heard on 100.9 FM in Towaoc, Cortez, White Mesa, Dolores and points in between. "I'd like to recognize Rob Rawls, our Four Corners Station Manager, for his tireless work in helping make this dream a reality, said Executive Director Tami Graham. "This project presented some unusual challenges, including last minute road trips to Reserve, NM, some creative problem solving, and perseverance."

Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Chairman Manuel Heart will join KSUT's Sheila Nanaeto for a live interview on KSUT Tribal Radio at 9 AM, Monday, May 25, to discuss the new signal. 

Ute Mountain tower site on Hermano Peak, home to KSUT Tribal Radio's new signal at 100.9 FM.

KSUT Tribal Radio can be heard on 91.3 FM serving Ignacio, Southern Ute and Jicarilla Apache Tribal lands, 89.7 FM serving Farmington, northwest New Mexico and Navajo Tribal lands, and now 100.9 FM serving Cortez, Dolores, Towaoc, White Mesa and Ute Mountain Ute Tribal lands.  

Learn more about Tribal Radio here

This project was made possible in part by The Gates Family Foundation, and El Pomar Foundation.