Ernie Manuelito died this year at age 57. His was the first voice ever to be heard on KTNN-AM, the Navajo nation radio station.
Known to listeners as Early Bird Ernie, Manuelito loved oldies (Buck Owens and George Jones were favorites) and sports, especially football. He reported on local news, but he also brought the outside world to his Navajo community. He announced Super Bowl XXX and the Salt Lake City Olympics in the Dine (Navajo) language.
Ernie spoke Navajo well — better than many — and said that putting the Navajo language on the air was an important public service.