Resolution 2020-15: Urging Full Funding for Public Broadcasting to Continue Quality Educational Programing in Rural Alaska

WHEREAS, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) is an Alaska Native tribal health and social services consortium established by the Interior Alaska tribes and tribal communities, to provide a unified voice in advancing sovereign tribal governments through the promotion of physical and mental wellness, education, socioeconomic development and culture of the Interior Alaska Native; and

WHEREAS, The Alaska Rural Communications Service (ARCS) provides free, over-the-air television service to approximately 185 rural and isolated Alaska communities and remains a primary, affordable information source for many users; and

WHEREAS, ARCS, a television service formerly known as RA TNet, is owned by the State of Alaska and is a joint venture of Alaska Public Media and a statewide network of low-powered television stations. The state relies on ARCS as part of its emergency broadcast system; and

WHEREAS, The State of Alaska has operated ARCS in partnerships with rural village community organizations and urban television broadcasters for over three decades; and

WHEREAS, ARCS continues to provide a valuable service to rural Alaska, especially the most vulnerable and at-risk residents in remote areas, as a free-to-watch over the air television service; and

WHEREAS, ARCS delivers vital weather and emergency information, as well as news, public affairs, entertainment and educational programming in some of Alaska’s most remote and economically depressed regions; and

WHEREAS, Public broadcasting in Alaska provides over the air non-commercial public service programming to un-served and underserved audiences throughout Alaska; and

WHEREAS, Public broadcasting provides an unparalleled level of local public service programming including local news; weather and marine conditions; community information; emergency, health and safety information; music and public affairs programming; and live event coverage; and

WHEREAS, Public broadcasting serves bush and rural communities where commercial service does not exist. Service in the bush is provided by originating stations based in bush and rural communities and by urban stations with equipment in remote areas; and

WHEREAS, Public broadcasting’s public safety mission is reflected in participation in the statewide Emergency Alert System (EAS), which for many is a primary source of local, statewide and national emergency declarations; and

WHEREAS, Public broadcasting’s education mission is reflected in the high quality of its children’s programming, educational outreach in the community, and lifelong learning opportunities for all ages; and

WHEREAS, Public broadcasting’s local service mission is characterized by local ownership, local control of programming, deep community engagement; strong partnerships with many community organizations; and

WHEREAS, The collaborative relationship between the State of Alaska, the public communications services it supports, and the residents in rural and urban Alaska communities who depend on those services every day,
represents a unique and valuable partnership worthy of strong support.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Tanana Chiefs Conference Full Board of Directors urge Governor Dunleavy and the Alaska State Legislature to ensure the Alaska Rural Communications Service, and Satellite Services are fully funded and to restore eliminated funding for public broadcasting so that residents in bush and rural Alaska continue to receive these fundamental radio and television services.

Submitted by: Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribal Government


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