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Indigenous Broadcasting

Types of Engineering involved: Communications

Broadcasting uses science to send a television or radio signal to a lot of people at the same time. About forty years ago, the only television shows people could get in the north were filmed and produced in the south. These shows did not show what it was like living in northern Indigenous communities.

Over time, local Indigenous communications societies began making shows that would represent their life. The first of these was Inuit Broadcasting (IBC) in the eastern Arctic, which started in the 1980s. Television Northern Canada (TVNC) was formed in 1991 when IBC and other television societies began to work together. They formed a pan-Northern broadcaster that serviced communities from the Yukon/Alaska border to the Atlantic coast of Labrador.

From 1991 to 1999, TVNC served a bit over one-third of Canada. It had an audience of about 100,000 people, more than half of those were Indigenous. People from 15 different Native language groups tuned in and each of the languages was featured along with English and French.

The next goal of TVNC was opening a broadcast network all across Canada that focused on Indigenousshows. It applied to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a license to create the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).  The license was given and APTN began broadcasting in September 1999.

APTN now shows Indigenous programming produced in both the north and south to more millions of homes across Canada! Its license was changed so that they can include Indigenous shows from other countries too. The network is now allowed to broadcast programs from Australia, New Zealand, Finland and the United States.

Television broadcasters need communications engineers in order to show their programming across Canada. It takes a lot of work, but an engineer is able to do it. They also need other types of engineers, like building and civil engineers, to maintain their buildings and facilities. There are many opportunities for engineers in this industry.

Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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