The Nome Static
The Monthly Newsletter of the KNOM Radio Mission

May 2011

Transmission 553

Ben, Matt and MattyFather RossJohn at NABSound boardBen reads weatherLynette with spots

Dear Friend of KNOM,

With tremendous challenges come incredible opportunities. At this moment, our radio mission – and our region – is seeing lots of both.

It's melting time in Western Alaska. Spring is finally on its way, with temperatures rising above freezing and snow slowly draining from the tundra. As we embrace warmer weather and look forward to summer, it's a time to celebrate, but also to remain vigilant. As you'll read below, this can be a season of hazards for the villages we cover; serious flooding and even late spring blizzards are not uncommon for our region. As always, we continue to do our best to be a presence in rural Alaska, reporting on whatever's coming next: be it rain, snow, or sun.

Indeed, we hope to remain a presence in this region for many decades to come, and in that vein, we're currently in the planning stages for a much-needed expansion and complete renovation of KNOM's studios, now in their third decade of operation. Although groundbreaking is still many months away, we're so grateful for all the technical expertise and financial support we've already received. Below, you'll find more about the latest plans for our new digital studios and the friends who are helping to make this project a reality.

Whether in the generosity of our community, the commitment of our volunteers (see more below!), or the devotion of our supporters across the country, we are continually amazed. You are making the seemingly impossible, possible. You and all you hold dear are in our prayers. Thank you so much.

The Boys are Back
Ben, Matt and Matty

We hope you'll join us in congratulating our first-year volunteers - Ben Matheson, Matt Smith, and Matty Guiffré - all of whom have decided to extend their commitment to our mission into a second year!

We've been so blessed with the talents of all three men, and we know that each one of them will do great things in their 2011-2012 service year.

Ben (left in the photo above) has been, and will remain, KNOM's news reporter. As we go to press, Ben's on assignment in the village of Teller - about a two hours' drive northwest of Nome - covering a local meet of the Native Youth Olympics (an athletic competition with events directly inspired by the traditional hunting and food gathering practices of Alaska Natives).

Matt Smith (middle) will remain our public affairs director; he regularly produces new installments of KNOM's long-form news programs, such as Profiles and Elder Voices, both of which feature interviews with leaders and influential voices in Western Alaska.

Matty Guiffré (at right) will stay on as production director; he writes and produces dozens of our educational spots each month, on subjects ranging from health and nutrition to tobacco prevention to environmental awareness.

Every day, the efforts of all three men keep KNOM's programming informative, current, and professional, and we're so glad they'll be with us for another year.

inspirational spot

Only when I surrender myself into His hands will God be able to do great things in me.

And Here's Diomede...
Father Ross and Bishop at map

A frequent point of interest in the KNOM lobby - especially for first-time visitors to the station - is our oversized, glossy map of the state of Alaska. It's perhaps most interesting because it shows, in clear detail, the vastness of America's largest state (more than twice the size of Texas) and, likewise, the immense expanse of our listening area. Indeed, our map certainly piqued the interest of Bishop Donald Kettler, who oversees the Catholic archdiocese of Fairbanks (which includes Nome and Western Alaska) and who visited KNOM studios last month.

In the photo above, Bishop Don chats with Father Ross Tozzi, a former KNOM volunteer and current parish priest of Nome's St. Joseph Catholic Church. Father Ross is pointing at the International Date Line and (too small to see in this picture) Little Diomede (DYE-uh-meed), a village within our AM listening range that's perched, literally, on the side of a cliff overlooking the Bering Strait. It's one of the most unique settlements in the world and a place where Alaska Native culture remains vibrant; we're proud to count Diomede residents among our most faithful listeners.

inspirational spot

Hard times are the grit that heaven uses to polish its jewels.

Do You Like Us?

How about on Facebook?

KNOM is proud to have a presence on the popular social networking site. On our Facebook page, you'll find information about our programming, photos, links to our latest shows and news programs, and more.

You can become a fan of KNOM on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/knomradio. You can also "like" KNOM right here, on our own website; click the "Like" button in the box just to the left of this article, and look for the boxes showing our Facebook page's feed on the right sidebar of most sections of knom.org.

inspirational spot

Work for the Lord.

The pay isn't much, but the retirement benefits are out of this world.

A Glimpse of What's to Come
John and Tom at NABSound boardTransmitter

We're excited to report that, bit by bit, we're moving towards the studio expansion we described above.

The project would involve converting KNOM's broadcast hardware from analog to digital, thus making our facilities more modern, immensely easier to service and monitor - even from thousands of miles away - and, ultimately, more cost efficient. This digital conversion was KNOM founder Tom Busch's last dream for the station before his passing last year, and we believe it's crucial to the future of our mission.

Last month, we were fortunate to be able to look at potential equipment for our new studios in person at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention, where tens of thousands of broadcasters annually gather from all around the world. We were there with a special purpose in mind: to put our hands on the equipment that will keep KNOM on the air in the coming decades.

Along with us on this crucial trip were two expert engineers and friends: John Kelsey and former KNOM news director Tom Bunger, both of whom generously donated vacation time to help us. Tom and John, as seen in the photo above (at left and middle of the picture), brought keen eyes to the different equipment we considered (such as digital sound boards, an example of which you'll see in the photo at middle). Many thanks, Tom and John!

Another boon of our NAB visit was hearing about a new type of power management for AM broadcast towers, called dynamic carrier control, that, if implemented, could save KNOM tens of thousands of dollars per year. We're greatly excited about this possibility for our own AM transmitter site (seen at bottom) and will keep you updated.

As we go to press, the Tom Busch Memorial Fund - dedicated to KNOM's future expansion - stands at an astonishing $73,625. We're so grateful for all who've given so far. Thank you.

Stormy Weather
Ben reads weather

On an hourly basis, KNOM broadcasts weather forecasts for 8 different regional zones, covering a huge chunk of the state of Alaska. Even with this breadth of coverage, our forecasts are normally just about 3 minutes long, but early last month, they extended to about 10 minutes.

What made them so lengthy was not just inclement weather, but also the dangers that weather presented. An early April blizzard ravaged through our region, temporarily halting all travel and even closing local schools and businesses. As the snow edged closer to our doorstep, KNOM newsies (like Ben Matheson, photo above) kept our listeners up to date on the status of the blizzard.

Even as you read this, further spring blizzards are still entirely possible, but even more likely is the threat of flooding. As snow and ice give way to warmer temperatures - during the spring period known as "break-up" - many of our villages could be at risk, especially if local melting is rapid. As always, our listeners will hear about any dangers on KNOM: thanks to your support.

inspirational spot

An apology is a great way to have the last word.

Spots of Inspiration
Lynette with spots

Every month, we feature them in the pages of this publication; every day (almost every hour, in fact), we broadcast them on our airwaves, just like we've been doing for nearly four decades.

Inspirational spots are one of KNOM's oldest and most popular traditions. Since 1971, we've been writing and producing our own inspirational messages: some of them religious, some of them thought-provoking, some even just humorous or light-hearted. We're proud to broadcast about 34,000 inspirational spots annually; to explore a wide sampling of them, visit our inspirational spot library.

Photo: in 1983, then-volunteer Lynette Berger (now business manager Lynette Schmidt!) explores the current slate of spots being aired.

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