The Nome Static
The Monthly Newsletter of the KNOM Radio Mission

September 2011

Transmission 557


Dear Friend of KNOM,

The summer may be ending, but at KNOM, we're just getting started.

We're excited this month to welcome two new members to our family: volunteer Rebekah Pierce and staff member Laura (Davis) Collins! Rebekah and Laura both started work at KNOM on August 15th, and we're thrilled to have them. You'll find more here and here.

In August we also brought in new equipment, both for our broadcast studios and for our volunteer dormitory. As you'll see below, we've needed to move toward new technology to replace equipment that, in some cases, has lasted at our mission since the 1990s: far longer than originally anticipated.

More than ever, we're committed to realizing our plans for KNOM's studio renovations. The project would not only expand our studio space, but also – even more urgently – convert our broadcast equipment from analog to digital, making our studios far easier to maintain and more cost-efficient.

As you read this, we are hard at work putting together major funding proposals for foundations and nonprofit organizations to supplement your generosity in this vitally important project.

We owe so much to our community, staff, and supporters, all of whom have kept our mission on the right path from 1971 to today. Thank you for making our mission possible. Thank you so much for all you do!


Our Newest Voice
Rebekah and Kelly

KNOM has a new volunteer!

Just days before we went to press, our mission welcomed Rebekah Jean Pierce of Terre Hill, Pennsylvania. Rebekah – or Bekah, for short – is a 2011 graduate of Grove City College (in Grove City, PA); she holds a bachelor's degree in communication studies and brings a strong background in broadcasting – including time at Pennsylvania radio station WIOV – to her new position at our mission.

At KNOM, Rebekah now serves as our music director: she oversees our vast music library, from our CDs and vinyl records to the over 10,000 songs in our digital music system, and decides what new songs are added to our daily playlists. She also produces a few music shows and spots (or short, educational messages) on musical genres and artists. Rebekah now hosts our Late Afternoon Show (4 to 7pm) and also deejays on Saturday mornings and afternoons, including our very popular Saturday Music Request Show.

We know you'll join us in wishing Rebekah – pictured above with program director Kelly Brabec – all the best in her KNOM service year! It's through your support that we're able to share Rebekah's energy and talents with our listeners.

inspirational spot

Keep your face to the sunshine, and you will not see the shadow.

Welcome, Laura!
Laura and Jeff's weddingLaura on East Beach

August was a time of multiple arrivals at KNOM. Alongside our newest volunteer, Rebekah (see above), we also welcomed back a former volunteer: this time, with a new position (and a new name!).

Laura (Davis) Collins (volunteer music director from 2007 to 2009) is the newest member of KNOM's permanent staff. After a year in North Carolina, Laura moved back to Nome this summer with newlywed husband Jeff Collins, also a former Nome resident who yearned to return to Western Alaska. The two married in June (see top photo).

At KNOM, Laura – pictured below – now serves as our outreach coordinator. She's in charge of volunteer recruitment and oversees the development of our volunteer program; she'll be working with KNOM alumni and colleges and universities to spread the word about our mission and to entice new generations of volunteers to serve.

Jeff, Laura's husband, also returned to a familiar job in Nome; he's back as a teacher at Nome Elementary School.

Jeff and Laura are both examples of the talented, dedicated, energetic people who, along with your support, make Western Alaska's communities stronger every day. We're excited to welcome Laura back to KNOM and know she'll do incredible things at our mission.

inspirational spot

Love seeks only one thing: the good of the one loved.

Stars and Snow

Imagine going the entire summer without seeing a single star in the night sky. Or cancelling your Labor Day barbecue on account of snow.

These are among the everyday realities of life in sub-Arctic Alaska. As we go to press, we're emerging from three months of almost constant daylight; our night skies are now completely dark for at least a few hours, allowing us to see stars again for the first time since May (although perhaps not in as much abundance as the photo above!).

By the time you read this, we may also have snow in the forecast: or fog, rain, or even sunshine. Thanks to you, our listeners hear the latest on the weather that so uniquely impacts their lives.

Keeping the Heat On
WillyFuel tank

In the sub-Arctic, staying warm is serious business. With temperatures easily dipping below -20° or even -30° in the winter, keeping heating equipment working properly is essential.

That's why, earlier this summer, we acted quickly to fix a malfunctioning furnace and hot water heater at the KNOM volunteer residence, the dormitory house where our full-time volunteers live. Thanks to the skill of local plumbers – including Willy Hoogendorn, pictured at top – we were able to replace the house's old heating apparatus, which had endured nearly 20 winters of use since its installation in the 1990s. We also replaced the volunteer house fuel tank (seen below).

These renovations will be a long-term investment for our volunteer dormitory. Not only will they make maintenance simpler – especially valuable, since repairmen are in such short supply – but their efficient use of heating fuel will also save us money. In just the past five years, the per-gallon price of fuel has risen more than two dollars: to $5.83 as of August 2011. These replacements couldn't have come at a more urgent time.

Both at the volunteer house and in KNOM studios, we're able to keep the heat on thanks to donors like you. Thank you!

inspirational spot

Jesus said: "I came so that all may have life and possess it in abundance."

– John 10:10

Analog Trouble, Digital Solutions

Early this summer, a few of our staffers noticed something odd about one of the studios in our broadcast building: its recorded sounds were playing back either too quickly or too slowly. After a few rounds of troubleshooting, the cause was isolated to the studio computer's aging sound card: the piece of circuitry that allows the computer to record, play, and edit audio.

Fixing the problem, however, ultimately involved more than simply switching the sound card. The maze of wiring connecting the studio to the computer had to be disconnected and very carefully rerouted, and a custom-built cabling box was constructed to allow a new sound card to interface with our analog audio hardware.

This lengthy troubleshooting process involved the hard work of a number of KNOM staffers and volunteers – as well as the kindly work of volunteer engineers John Kelsey and Les Brown – but it would have been greatly simplified, if not avoided entirely, if KNOM's audio hardware were digital rather than analog.

As we've written in previous editions of the Static, converting our broadcast studios from analog to digital hardware would spare us engineering headaches, time, and ultimately, money. With your generous support, it's a project we're actively pursuing.

inspirational spot

Prayer is the key of the day and the lock of the night.

On the Board
Laureli at whiteboard

As we wrote in the July Static, we were recently the lucky recipient of a gallon of free whiteboard paint (paint that, once applied to a wall, forms a dry-erase surface). The whiteboard paint now adorns a wall of KNOM's newsroom, and this summer, it's been a fertile area for collecting news tips, leads, and ideas for new stories.

In the photo above, news director Laureli Kinneen adds to the newsroom idea wall while brainstorming with volunteer reporter Ben Matheson (not pictured). The hard work of Laureli, Ben, and volunteer public affairs director Matthew Smith makes KNOM News one of the most active, creative, and comprehensive news departments in our state. Their work connects the isolated communities of our region to each other and to the world beyond Alaska, and it's made possible thanks to you.

Explore the latest from KNOM's news department.

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