Muskeg Lake launches radio station

CICN-FM is a new local radio station that is broadcasting First Nations community programming from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation on the broadcasting frequency of 104.3 FM. The Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Radio Station Corporation received Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approval to operate a new English-language and Cree-language FM radio station in June 2011 and officially hit the airwaves Nov. 1.

CICN is affiliated with Missinippi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), which is heard in more than 70 communities across Northern Saskatchewan. MBC radio's audience is primarily First Nations which is Saskatchewan's fastest growing demographic.

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CICN announcers Aaron Bouvier and Curtis Ledoux have defined the audience that they will be broadcasting to and have successfully produced programming that will suit the needs of the local communities. They also have a clear understanding of the geographic areas where the signal is received including Mistawasis First Nations, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation as well as the communities of Leask, Blaine Lake and Marcelin. There are also areas within the highway grid where motorists have been able to receive the CICN radio signal during their travels.

Currently CICN is permitted five and a half hours of air time and broadcasts Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., from 10 a.m. to noon, and the afternoon program from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The remainder of the programming for the day and night comes from MBC and airs music, interviews and other special project events.

With the basic operating structure in place for CICN, there was an effort underway to develop the skills required to provide quality programming and announcing, Aaron and Curtis became involved and soon the venture was on its way to becoming reality.

Aaron Bouvier is one of the radio announcers for CICN 104.3 FM. He is proud to have had the opportunity to start daily programming for the radio station with Curtis "Jigger" Ledoux.

Aaron moved home in September and was eager to commit to the job opportunity. A training program on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation enabled Aaron and Curtis to become the "voices" of CICN. Being very grateful and appreciative of this opportunity, Aaron is a natural as a DJ, rightfully so. He has envisioned himself in the entertainment industry at some level, creating art in the form of entertainment.

"As a teenager growing up in Ile-a-La-Crosse four hours north of the land of Muskeg Lake, I actively pursued a musical career playing in a band, and developing an everlasting love for music and Nirvana," commented Aaron, explaining that he eventually put his bass guitar and microphone down to pursue songwriting.

Aaron "DJ AaronB" has rekindled that flame to spark a whole new interest in something completely wonderful.

"An opportunity to entertain the public and never have the opportunity to hear yourself is one part of the job that racks the nerves," Aaron says. "But it's only nerves and they could be shook, all you got to do is love your job and mine is awesome!"

CICN 104.3FM radio announcer Jason Curtis Ledoux also resides on Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.

Curtis is an established and accomplished musician with over 30 years experience performing in the entertainment industry. He is honoured to have the opportunity to demonstrate his entertainment skills to co-host CICN 104.3 FM programming. He also operates an entertainment company, Indisquise Entertainment Inc. that provides music for any occasion in different formats from DJ and karaoke to live band music.

Curtis is also lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for his band Indisquise. The four-man band has been entertaining crowds for over 10 years and is currently working on their first album.

"It's an honour and a privilege to be a part of our radio station. It brings pride and unity to our community," explained Curtis. "It is a tool of tomorrow and I look forward to utilizing our tool here in Muskeg Lake."

The CICN 104.3 playlist consists of on-the-fly local news reporting, and a musical format consisting of a blend of pop, classic rock and country and aboriginal music.

"We also incorporate powwow and fiddle music into the on-air scheduling on a regular daily basis," explained Aaron. "We also try to keep the programming informative to our listeners by incorporating culture and education."

Committed to this job, Aaron is continually marketing the venture through fundraising efforts. Those involved at CICN promote fundraising events with goals in mind. Monthly fundraising efforts will be used to purchase live-on-location equipment and road equipment so that there will be opportunity to broadcast from within the communities. CDs for CDs is a new fundraising initiative where listeners can purchase a paper CD and can either write their name on it or dedicate it to a loved one with a favourite song. The CD is then laminated and displayed on the wall. The promotion has been successful in providing extra funding to purchase more music for the station.

"The first instalment of CDs for CDs provided money to purchase our Christmas music selection," admits Aaron proudly.

Aaron and Curtis encourage musical artists to send samples or recorded CDs to the station for consideration of airtime.

"It will provide an avenue in which their music will be heard by a wider audience," commented Aaron.

A public survey will be conducted to allow listeners to voice their opinions and thoughts. The program schedule will be voiced by the public.

MBC has provided an opportunity for smaller first nations' organizations to create their own programming system to meet the needs of their listening audiences.

Still in its infancy, CICN continues to be a work in progress.

Seeing the need for radio station outreach, Aaron and Curtis are determined to build a sense of trust with the aboriginal leaders, the general public and many business owners who wish to advertise. It is through hard work, dedication and strong commitment from those involved that CICN will be permitted to grow. Currently, the trust is fostered by Aaron and Curtis' progressive approach and fundraising initiatives.

CICN is an aboriginally owned and operated community venture with its office and station located on MLCN in the old youth centre building next to Kihiw Waciston School.

CICN will respond to its listeners' desires by focusing on providing the best in top music and providing unsurpassed professional news.

© Copyright Battlefords News Optimist