After 35 years of broadcasting to the Yukon, Northern BC and Western NWT, CHON-FM is getting a face lift
CHON-FM Indigenous Radio celebrates 35 years
[WHITEHORSE, Yukon] – CHON-FM Indigenous Radio is celebrating 35 years of broadcasting with a re-branding and new content. The new look and sound will debut on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, 2019, with a renewed focus on the station's connection to all 29 Yukon communities to which it broadcasts.
While some development and broadcasting was ongoing under various forms and frequencies in years prior – with community stations sprouting up in Old Crow, Ross River, Pelly Crossing and Teslin – the CRTC approved the license for CHON-FM on June 18, 1984.
CHON-FM began in the basement of the old CYI Building in Whitehorse under the careful oversight of George Henry and Ken Kane, broadcasting with just 0.6 watts of power – barely enough to cover the city of Whitehorse – compared to today's broadcast strength of 4,260 watts.
“CHON-FM was built by dreamers,” recalls George Henry, the first General Manager of CHON-FM. “From humble beginnings in the basement of an Indian residential school to a modern vehicle for social change, CHON-FM is a unique aboriginal voice in the world.”
As part of the re-branding, a new logo will be unveiled resulting from a competition. The winning entry was created by Kaska First Nations artist Bobby Quash, and features a wolf and crow within the outline of the Yukon, atop a traditional drum. The wolf and crow represent the two major clans of Yukon First Nations, and symbolizes CHON-FM's commitment to all Yukon indigenous culture.
The new logo retires the previous logo, entitled “The Bear,” created by Tlingit artist and then-NNBY technical assistant Mark Yaklin Preston. Commissioned by NNBY in the early 1980s, “The Bear” represented a protector of Yukon language and culture and served as the corporate logo for Northern Native Broadcasting, Yukon (NNBY), CHON-FM, and NEDAA.
Another aspect of CHON-FM's re-branding is a new theme song inspired by an archival recording of Southern Tutchone elder Polly Fraser, singing a traditional song called “The Green Song.” “I feel very honoured,” says Marie McLaren, daughter of Polly Fraser. “My mother sang a lot with her grand kids, taking them on all these trips and singing First Nations songs. They're still singing those songs today”
The short but memorable theme will be featured in new radio station identifiers, performed by Southern Tutchone teacher and musician, Dan Tlen.
CHON-FM on-air hosts will broadcast live from the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre festivities at Shipyards Park on Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21.
CHON-FM is also partnering with APTN for their National Indigenous Peoples Day concert event on June 22, to celebrate the 35th anniversary on national television.