The Nome Static
The Monthly Newsletter of the KNOM Radio Mission

Christmas 2011

Transmission 560

Staff photoJeremy interviewsSeawall and whirlpoolFather Vince Beuzer and Father Armand NigroAmy GornLaura with display board

Dear Friend of KNOM,

For our mission, this year, the path to the Christmas season has been a tumultuous one.

We write you in the wake of some of the most severe weather ever to hit our region: a massive autumn storm described by the National Weather Service as "epic," a storm system with a diameter the length of America's Pacific coast.

As you'll read in Storm of the Century, we did all we could to keep our listeners safe and informed throughout this emergency. We broadcast evacuation notices, flood warnings, and news on the progress of the storm. We relayed messages from Western Alaskans who wanted to assure their loved ones of their safety. And on this website – – we posted urgent advisories, information on preparing emergency kits, the latest photos of the Nome region, and more. It was a trying time for all in our region, but thanks to you, we stayed on the air – and kept our listeners (and ourselves) safe.

Just days later, we experienced tumult of a different kind, as we learned of the passing of beloved priest and KNOM spiritual advisor Father Vincent Beuzer, SJ. You'll find more in Farewell.

Through the storms, however, we're so grateful to all who have brought our mission – and our listeners – to another Christmas in Western Alaska. We remain convinced that KNOM's mission can be life-changing, and as you'll read in "Where I Was Meant to Be," that often extends to the people who work, volunteer, and support our station.

We can't thank you enough for all you do to make our mission possible every day. From all of us at KNOM, we pass on our most heartfelt Christmas wishes for you and for all you hold dear. This season – as always – we are working hard to be your gift to Western Alaska.


Merry Christmas from the Staff at KNOM!
KNOM Staff Picture

A recent snapshot of the KNOM staff. Front row, left to right: Laureli Kinneen, Father Ross Tozzi, and Kelly Brabec; middle: David Dodman, Lynette Schmidt, Betsy Brennan, Laura Collins, and Rebekah Pierce; back: Ben Matheson, Matty Guiffré, Ric Schmidt, and Matthew Smith.

inspirational spot

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

Storm of the Century

It was a storm that was already being described as "one of the worst on record" before it had even caught the attention of the national media. With almost unbelievably high waves and winds exceeding 60-80 miles per hour, it might well have been declared a category 3 hurricane, had its massive footprint fallen further south.

In mid-November, Western Alaska was hit with a massive Bering Sea storm. Thanks to your support, we not only weathered the worst of it but also helped our thousands of listeners to do the same. Here are just a few photos and stories from that incredible week:

Matty in Studio A
Matty in Studio A

On Tuesday, November 8, with our emergency and regional weather forecasts easily exceeding 15 minutes (they're normally 3-4), businesses, schools, and other organizations in Western Alaska begin to announce closures. KNOM is a clearing house for these announcements; long before the storm reaches its apex, morning show host Matty Guiffré can cover our main broadcast board with all the notices we've received.

Ben at the Emergency Shelter
Ben interviews Jeremy

On Tuesday night, after the City of Nome urges coastal residents to evacuate, some seek shelter at the city's recreation center. KNOM staff and volunteers carefully drive through white-out conditions to report at the shelter, where news volunteer Ben Matheson does a late-night interview with city employee Jeremy Master.

Storm Damage
Ravaged building

By daybreak Wednesday, the effects of the overnight storm begin to become clear. Most buildings suffer only minor damage or none at all, but one structure on Nome's West 1st Avenue is not so fortunate.

Crashing Waves
Crashing waves and sea foam

Although winds begin to abate by Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service – and KNOM – continue to warn of a growing sea surge. At Nome's Middle Beach, Bering Sea waves ferociously lap at the coastline.

Nome Port floods
Nome port floods

Nome's port area experiences substantial flooding Wednesday afternoon, as waves and water continue to breach the harbor's already-high retaining walls.

Whirlpool on the Beach
Seawall and whirlpool

Nome's seawall – constructed specifically to thwart strong Arctic storms – is surrounded by water on Wednesday, with waves pounding its rocks from the south and water flooding its beach area to the north. Draining water creates a small whirlpool.

More Photos

We have many more pictures to show you from November's incredible Bering Sea storm. To see these shots - and lots more - visit KNOM on Facebook and on the photo-sharing site Flickr.

We thank you again for making our mission possible at this crucial time: a moment literally of life and death for our region. With your help, we stayed on the air and relayed emergency information to our listeners.

inspirational spot

Don't give God instructions. Just report for duty!

Father Vince Beuzer and Father Armand Nigro

Just hours before we went to press, we were saddened to receive news of the death of one of KNOM's spiritual advisors: Father Vincent Beuzer, SJ, who passed away suddenly in Spokane, Washington the evening of Sunday, November 13, 2011.

Father Vince (at left in the photo) shared the position of KNOM spiritual advisor with Father Armand Nigro (right), a fellow Jesuit and a longtime partner in leading retreats across the state of Alaska, from its urban centers to its rural fringes. Fr. Vince was renowned for his energy and enthusiasm for sharing and teaching Catholic spirituality.

We hope you'll join us in praying for Father Vince, his family, and fellow clergy.

inspirational spot

To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge.

To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.

"Where I Was Meant to Be"
Amy Flaherty Gorn

Thanks to your support, the KNOM Radio Mission has changed lives: not just those of our listeners, but also, those of our staff.

This month, we feature someone who may be familiar to longtime Static readers: Amy (Flaherty) Gorn (pictured above), who served at KNOM from 2002 to 2008:

Every KNOM volunteer has their unique story of how they heard about the award-winning station in far-flung Nome, Alaska and of the path that led them on a northward plane. As I prepared myself for that journey, my grandparents simply asked, "What if it doesn't work out?" My response: "I've made a commitment, and I'll see that through as best as I can."

It was probably all of a week in Nome, far away from any familiar support system, and I knew the year would be extraordinary. The work, atmosphere and people of KNOM developed my career skills and also granted me a wealth of life experiences.

Two volunteer years flew by, and I couldn't envision myself anywhere but with KNOM. That's when Tom Busch – general manager at the time – offered me the chance to deepen my commitment with a permanent staff position as KNOM's public affairs director. It was confirmation I was where I was meant to be.

After six years in Nome – and now three years since relocating within Alaska – I've learned even more about myself through my mission experience. The passion and skills imparted by KNOM have allowed me to continue being "on the air" at my local public radio station. KNOM is also a place for young adults to find themselves and to carry forward values instilled by the station. I made mistakes there, I grew and matured, I took advantage and then learned to appreciate. It is a special space where it is all allowed, encouraged, and expectations are high.

Amy Gorn lives in Sitka, Alaska; she and her husband expect their first child on December 10th!

inspirational spot

A smile here, a kind word there, a helping hand to someone in need: sowing seeds of happiness is a beautiful way to live a life!

The Next Generation
Laura with display board

We're so gratified for stories like those of Amy Gorn (above); they reaffirm our belief that KNOM can truly be life-changing for all who participate in it.

That's definitely the case for Laura (Davis) Collins, who served as a KNOM volunteer from 2007 to 2009 and now works as the station's outreach coordinator. As we go to press, Laura is recruiting for new volunteers at a few colleges and universities (using the display board she's preparing above). Interested in volunteering? Explore our volunteer program information, or email

Read all about it
Happening at KNOM
Find Us OnFacebookTwitterFlickrLinkedIn®
Photostream (Flickr)
Copyright © 2013 KNOM Radio Mission, Inc.
All audio downloads are offered for personal use only.