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I can’t wait to be the first guest to return for a third time to see where Russell and my connection take us next. If consolation prize is not won, an additional $100.00 will be added to the next week’s bingo. With AMMSA’s portion of the profits, the number of satellite transmitters has been increased so the station could reach more listeners. © 2022 Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited. • A bingo dabber must be used, if one is not used, your prize will not be awarded to you. “I got the idea to try to duplicate that success here in Alberta,” he said. “Carol and I worked out the logistics and secured the initial distribution outlets,” he explained. “We had some growing pains at the beginning, but we fine-tuned it to a successful format that was efficient for the station to handle.”

“They can be totally relaxed, smoke if they want to, have friends or family join them around the kitchen table, and make a fun event out of it.” Welcome to AMMSA.COM, the news archive website for our family of Indigenous news publications. One Window Resource-Outreach is a community-based drop-in program that addresses the needs of individuals who are considered at risk or in need. The program works to provide non-financial services that will help the individual sustain stability in our community.

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A system has been devised so the sellers don’t have time-consuming duties that might take them away from the operation of their stores. In return, they get free radio advertising as their business is mentioned on air frequently. Many years ago, Bert Crowfoot, AMMSA’s CEO and general manager, was attending a meeting in Ottawa where another broadcaster, Native Communications Inc. from Manitoba, was relating how the proceeds from its radio bingo were helping the station expand. “Our anniversary year will be celebrated by giving away over $100,000 through October, with eight Super Bingos producing $14,000 in winnings. Our listeners are excited at this big news,” said Russ. That being said, I was excited to reflect on a year of being a Northern Fellow on 91.1 the Bridge. For a half an hour, my friend and mentor, Russell Thomas and I explored my path on a segment called Impact Radio. It was then that he told me I was the first ever guest to return for a second interview. With cameras rolling and microphones live in the studio, we caught up with each other. And there we were, sending stories of resiliency and traditional lifestyles over hills and treetops —doing our best to counter the isolation sometimes felt by Indigenous innovators in rural communities by their echoing voices. This partnership provides access to a province wide and pan-aboriginal audience in which we can make a call out to innovators; who are the innovators making a difference in your community?! How are they making a difference and where can we connect to make a more collective impact?!

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Over the years, the station has listened to feedback from the players, so they’ve been part of the successful evolution of the project. “They love the game and they’ve been faithful about buying their bingo cards.” Goals for the future include a three-year plan for increased distribution. Windspeaker Media, and our Alberta radio stations CFWE & CJWE play bingo on Monday, Thursday and Saturday nights at 6pm MST. When I was young, I used to admire disc jockeys and their ability to send their voices above hills and over tree tops. I don’t think they realized the isolation they countered in Treaty 8 territory. For some people in rural communities, listening to the radio not only provides a peek into urban areas but is also a form of social interaction. Radio Bingo for example, gives rural community members a chance to ‘win some big bucks’. And calling the request line to ‘dedicate a song to an aunties’ ex-boyfriend’s brother from down the road’ gives people a sense of inclusion and, even more importantly, a voice. Please make sure you listen carefully to the numbers that are being called out. This is to avoid any unnecessary phone calls, so bingo can function well. If you have a bingo, please call in immediately and tell the bingo operator that you have a bingo.

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“Then they mail the card in and cheques are made out the next day. Sometimes big winners drive into the city to collect in person,” said Russ. Playing in the comfort of their own home is what appeals to the thousands of participants, she said. Anna Giles is the radio bingo co-ordinator and works directly with the vendors who sell the cards and the players who win the prizes. “These are the people who have made it all possible,” Anna Giles said. “The 46 sellers who are promoting the cards are great. I go out on the road and try to meet them all over the course of the year. And I try to meet some of the players by being in the store on game day in the different communities when they are coming in to purchase their cards.”

“But we’ve got a dedicated number of sellers now. The players are enthusiastic as our prize money gives them a chance to win big money, as much as $10,000 twice a month, so that makes for some very happy people.” “They tell us they want us to keep providing the bingo games,” she concluded. On Oct. 7, 1996 the first game was broadcast with $2,998 in sales. Prize money amounted to $2,720, Russ said, but the tiny profit was enough to convince the non-profit company there was potential in the project. “Since then we have sold more than $8 million worth of bingo cards and given back to the community $4.99 million in prizes, with many happy winners,” she explained. For the last 10 years, radio station CFWE has turned Monday and Thursday nights into a social event in many Alberta homes. With transmitters scattered across the province, the station broadcasts bingo games into thousands of houses, many in remote locations where attending the popular and fun game at a bingo hall is impossible. Players purchase their cards at a local convenience store or gas station and call in their winning numbers to the radio station.