Dear Friend of KNOM,

You did it!

Your incredible support has reenergized and rejuvenated our mission. With your prayers, your generous contributions, and smart budgeting, we’re now very optimistic about meeting our financial obligations.

Despite all our recent challenges, your devotion has kept us on the air 24 hours a day. You made it happen. Thank you!

We’re moving into the New Year with a redoubled sense of purpose and a lot of positive momentum. In parishes and communities far from Western Alaska, more and more of our supporters are reaching out to family, friends, and loved ones to spread the word about KNOM.

We thank all those who are helping us reach more potential supporters. It means so much that you’re sharing the KNOM story.

As we begin 2011, we pledge to shine the bright light of faith, hope and charity with every broadcast. With your help, the KNOM volunteers and staff remain committed and invigorated in this critical radio mission. Thank you from the families spread out over 100,000 square miles of Western Alaska.

From all of us at KNOM, all the best for a healthy and prosperous 2011!

Christmas Reunion

We were thrilled to welcome KNOM alumna Amy (Flaherty) Gorn to our studios last month.

Amy – our public affairs director from 2002 to 2008 – was in Nome for Christmas week, catching up with friends and loved ones. Amid her many Nome reunions, she spent a few hours back in front of a KNOM microphone.

Amy co-hosted our Monday-night rock show, Musical Collisions, with weekly host Wes Adkins. They’re pictured at left in Studio A. (In the second photo, looking through the studio window, they’re framed by the many Christmas cards we’ve been so grateful to receive!)

Amy also anchored a few hours of our traditional Call-In Show on Christmas Eve. (See "Merry Christmas!", below.)

We know our listeners were delighted to have Amy back on the air at Christmastime.

Inspirational Spot

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.

Blessed are those who ask “what can I share?,” not “what can I spare?”

Blessed are those who give not from the top of their purse, but from the bottom of their heart.

The Tom Busch Memorial Fund

It’s hard to believe, but it’s now more than two months since the passing of KNOM founder and dear friend Tom Busch.

While this time has been especially difficult for us, the outpouring of care from our extended KNOM family has been incredible. Supporters from across the country – donors, friends, and KNOM alumni – have rallied around the mission that Tom so tirelessly worked to build.

In just two months, our financial situation has improved significantly. Thanks to generous donors, we’ve created the Tom Busch Memorial Fund, which, as of December 31st, 2010, has amassed an astonishing $33,911.41. It’s one of the most incredible periods of support in KNOM history. The fund will help us renovate KNOM to all-digital studios: one of Tom’s dreams for the station.

We can’t thank you enough for your generosity at this trying time. It means the world – not just to our staff, but also to the Busch family and to the thousands who are interconnected, deeply, through this radio mission.

At left are a few photos from the Busch family’s visit to Nome in November (for Tom’s memorial Mass). At top, Steve and Florence Busch meet with Father Ross Tozzi after the Mass; in the middle, the Busch family turns on KNOM’s Christmas star; at bottom, Florence shares a moment with volunteer Matty Guiffré. You’ll find even more photos on our website (here) and on our Facebook page (facebook.com/knomradio).

"Merry Christmas!"

This timeless greeting was heard throughout the far reaches of Western Alaska this year.

For seven hours on Christmas Eve (10am to 5pm), KNOM was proud to broadcast its traditional Christmas Call-In Show: a chance for listeners to pass on holiday wishes to friends and family in our region.

The response was fantastic; we took hundreds of calls from area villages. Some offered holiday greetings in Yup’ik and Iñupiaq, the Native languages most prominent in Western Alaska. We even received calls from outside our listening range: from Anchorage to Arizona.

At left, you’ll see the cards used to identify callers to our on-air host after they’ve been screened and prepped for their air time. We still do it the old-fashioned way: with markers, index cards, and tape!

Your support makes this special show possible.

Inspirational Spot

Feed your faith with prayer, and all your doubts will starve.

Domino!

One of the chief stipulations of the KNOM volunteer program is that volunteers be prepared to do “other duties as assigned.” In the station’s four-decade history, this clause has meant everything from blasting holes in the tundra (with dynamite) to broadcasting from a skin boat in the Bering Sea.

For second-year volunteer Linda Maack, and her recent stint as a fill-in host on our morning show, “other duties” meant a chance to play a game with our listening audience. While fellow volunteer and regular morning-show host Leah Radde was on a well-deserved vacation, Linda celebrated “Domino Day” on the air. In our main broadcast studio – Studio A – she carefully set up a few dozen dominoes and then toppled them, live, sending their delightful clicking noises echoing throughout Western Alaska.

Inspirational Spot

God chooses the last to be first. God chooses us not because of our abilities, but because of our inabilities, and our willingness to give glory to Him.

Give God your best try. Let Him do the rest.

10,000+ Songs?!

KNOM’s music library is large – exceptionally large, even by mass-market media standards – and thanks to your help, it’s thoroughly modern, too.

On a recent conference call from New York City, a support representative for the company that makes our music-broadcast software was astonished to discover that our music library holds over 10,000 songs. (Compare this to a typical Lower-48 radio station, which might boast a library of only 1,000 songs or less.)

Why so many? The answer, as you might have guessed, has a lot to do with our exceptionally diverse programming. Those 10,000 songs represent an incredible mix of music: from current pop hits to traditional Alaska Native drumming, from Ella Fitzgerald to Justin Bieber, from Beethoven to The Beatles. KNOM’s variety is essential to our mission, since, for some Western Alaskan listeners, we’re their only source for broadcast music.

Whether it’s classical symphonies or classic rock, virtually every song we broadcast is a digital file played through our computer system. Although KNOM’s music library still contains thousands of vinyl records and thousands more compact discs – at times, almost too many for our limited shelving space to handle – we’re proud to report that, along with the rest of the world, KNOM has “gone digital.”

We respectfully ask you to keep this in mind if you’re considering donating extra music to our station. While we appreciate every gift we receive, please check with us in advance to see if we have the need – or the room! – for your extra music. Ultimately, we might be able to save you time and shipping expenses!

A Christmas Visit

Volunteer music director Leah Radde had a special guest with whom to share the holidays this year: her sister, Lael, who flew up from Minnesota to see rural Alaska at its merriest – and, at times, coldest.

Lael is currently a sophomore at Sioux Center, Iowa’s Dordt College – Leah’s own alma mater. Although she was on Christmas vacation during her trip, Lael kept quite busy. She happily volunteered, behind-the-scenes, for our Christmas call-in program (see "Merry Christmas!", above) and spent some time in the studio during our morning show, which Leah hosts.

Leah even gave her sister the chance to help produce one of her regular programs: Music Detour, a themed music show that airs every other weekend. (As Leah happily described, Lael was given the chance to “hijack” the show.)

When not at KNOM, the Radde sisters kept quite active, even outdoors. They went skiing, ice skating, and snowshoeing, despite frigid weather around Christmas and New Year’s. As we go to press, wind chills are approaching or exceeding -40º in our area.

Inspirational Spot

This day is a gift from God.

Will I keep it just for myself, or will I share it with others?

Life (and Weather) Imitates Art

Every year, the KNOM staff creates a completely new radio play for broadcast on Christmas Day. It’s an old tradition, and for the 2010 play, written and produced by volunteer Matty Guiffré, the story revolved around an all-too-familiar dilemma: severe winter weather.

It’s not just fiction: we’ve already seen several blizzards and multiple feet of snow in Nome, suspending air travel (our only means of long-distance transportation) and, at times, posing hazards to local residents. As we’ve done for four decades, KNOM has helped out by broadcasting weather warnings and by raising awareness of missing persons: crucial parts of our daily programming every winter.

So just how much snow does Western Alaska get? The 15-foot snow mounds at left – photographed in 2008 – say it all.