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2018-04-12 / Voices

Early Morning Wakalapi Show Is Ahead Of The Times


There are a few podcasts starting to gain steam that claim to capture the feel of Indian County, however, I believe there is one that stands out above the rest.

I’ve become a fan of audio podcasts. I enjoy listening to them while I drive, or when I am out on a walk. They are easy to access, and you can find one on any topic. For those of you who are not familiar with the format, they are basically recorded radio shows made available for download on the internet. They can be added to phones, computers, tablets, and basically any device that has access to the internet.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, nearly 68-million Americans listen to podcasts each month. Even more importantly, 44-percent of these listeners, are between the ages of 18-34. For Indian Country, and more specifically tribes on the northern plains, this represents a huge segment of our population.

One of the major problems facing our tribal governments is figuring out a way to connect with this age demographic. For the most part those statistics make the existence of the Early Morning Wakalapi Chit Chat Show even more impressive. The weekly show that airs on KILI 90.1, is now in its 7th year and is enjoying its largest following each week.

Hosted by locals, Arlo Iron Cloud, and Santee Baird, the early morning staple of KILI provides a rare glimpse into the lives of people living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The show allows for tough questions to be considered, while at the same time injecting an authentic local comedic take on them. As someone who studies the media, I honestly believe there is nothing like it out there. The irony is that the show has been around since before the podcast boom.

Across Indian Country there is, sort of, a competition for followers amongst our “rez-famous” internet stars. There are plenty of strong voices, representing many tribal-nations, that have significant followings on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and everything else. The problem is that there is a danger of authentic reservation raised voices being lost amongst the chatter. That is one of the reasons why we need to support shows like the Early Morning Wakalapi Show, newspapers like Lakota Country Times, and tribal public relations offices who are attempting to distribute important information.

Luckily, the content that is being produced by Arlo and Santee each week is relevant to what our community wants to hear and learn about. Arlo does a wonderful job at updating the community on local events and on the actions of tribal-government. The service is invaluable as it is listened to by the morning commuters from 7AM- 8AM.

Last week, I spent an hour on the show talking about public relations and this week’s Great Plains Tribal Leader Economic Development Summit. While the show was being aired live on KILI 90.1, on the radio and their website, we were also live on Facebook and the LCT Facebook page. The efforts of Santee and Arlo to grow and evolve their show is a perfect example of the entrepreneurial spirit that our people have shown throughout history.

For more information about the Early Morning Wakalapi Show please visit their Facebook page.

*Brandon is an award winning -journalist and the former Editor of Lakota Country Times and the former Managing Editor of Native Sun News. Brandon was born and raised on the Pine ridge Indian Reservation who earned his education from Dartmouth College. He founded Bad Face Consulting in 2016.

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