This month, KNOM will be welcoming its largest "class" of new volunteers in recent memory.
For the first time in many years, all of our volunteers are first-years; we're thrilled to have the energy and service-minded dedication of five new young people, the first of whom arrived early last month.
Meet Joshua Cunningham, pictured above, originally from Mount Holly, North Carolina. Josh is KNOM's new music director, and he's hardly a stranger to community service. Before Nome, Josh worked in service positions across the country: from fighting fires in the forests of California to ensuring water quality and environmental conservation in Tennessee.
Over the coming year at KNOM, Josh will deejay on weekdays from 4 to 7pm, travel to remote communities within our 100,000-square-mile listening area, and oversee our vast, diverse music library.
The latter of these job duties – the music aired on KNOM – is a fundamental part of our mission. Since 1971, we've broadcast a wide range of musical programming: popular music from the 1950s through the 2010s; music for spiritual reflection and for Christian worship and devotion; and the traditional song and dance of the Alaska Native cultures in our region. For many, KNOM is one of the only ways to listen to music on a daily basis.
Through your support, Josh will help make our music programming even better over the coming year. We can't wait to see the difference that he – and you! – will make. Welcome, Josh!
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
We offer much gratitude and a heartfelt bon voyage to volunteer Matthew Smith, who departs this month after two years of truly outstanding work as KNOM's public affairs director.
Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Matthew has become deeply involved in the Nome community – both inside and outside of KNOM's studio walls.
As a member of our news department – thanks to you! – Matt has spent two years producing high quality, long-form news programs: in particular, the deservedly popular shows Profiles and Elder Voices, the latter of which features extended interviews with respected elders from the communities we serve. He's also reported on a wide variety of news events: from regional cultural conferences to the incredible Nome fuel delivery, in January 2012, accomplished by the Russian tanker Renda.
In Nome, Matt has kept busy; he's an active member of the local ambulance department and has volunteered in a variety of community projects, from the town's annual Relay for Life (see more below) to performances sponsored by the Nome Arts Council.
We hope you'll join us in wishing Matt all the best as he departs our mission. We thank you for making possible his years of service.
Photos: Matt with Abraham Anasogak, Sr. (uh-NESS-uh-gock), whom he interviewed for Elder Voices; Matt surveys the Russian tanker Renda in January. He was one of the only journalists allowed onboard the history-making vessel.
Faith is like a boomerang: begin using what you have, and it comes back to you in greater measure.
A mandate inherent to KNOM's mission is to give back to the communities that listen to us. Given the caliber of the volunteers we employ, it's no surprise that KNOMers so often use their free time to participate in Nome events: including, most recently, our town's third annual Relay for Life, an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society that benefits cancer research and those battling the disease.
In early August, KNOM staff and volunteers took turns walking in the 24-hour relay event, where, as pictured above, hope was visible in many forms.
The period of time during which Western Alaska is reliably snow-free is nearly over.
By the time you read this, Nome may already have seen its first frost and even its first snowfall.
For both our listeners and our own mission, early autumn is always a moment of transition. While schools reopen and our countryside slowly turns colors of brown, orange, and red – some of the same hues seen this season on deciduous trees in the Lower 48 – many of our listeners will spend time by picking the last few blueberries and salmonberries (or cloudberries) that populate the tundra in late summer. (The late-1990s-era photo at top shows KNOM listener Leona Mayac doing just that.) As summer hunting and fishing seasons conclude, many will store up supplies of food – salmon, moose, muskox, berries, and more, all caught locally – that will help carry them through our region's long winter.
Thanks to your support, our radio station will be a clearing house this month for all kinds of seasonal information: school events, fishing and hunting advisories from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, road condition advisories, and lots more. And as our rain gradually turns to snow – and brings with it the fall storms and flooding occasionally seen in our region – we'll be the first to let our listeners know.
It's all possible thanks to you. Thank you!
A Bible in the hand is worth two on the shelf.
We're so grateful to engineer and KNOM alumnus Tom Bunger (pictured), who recently volunteered time at our mission to help us refine our internet connectivity and address other computer issues.
Tom first came to KNOM as a volunteer in 1993, and he's remained an active participant in the work of our mission ever since. He worked as our staff news director from 1994 to 1997, and even after moving on to work elsewhere in Alaska in the computer industry, he's periodically offered his advice and talents to our station, especially with regards to computers, networking, and other technology.
Readers of our volunteer blog – at knom.org/blog – know that we've been featuring the stories and reflections of alumni from our long-standing volunteer program. Here's an excerpt of the blog post by former news director Tom Bunger (seen above in a circa-1990s photo):
I had just started my first year as a KNOM volunteer and was in the village of Stebbins to cover a music festival. I must've looked out of place walking down the road with a microphone. A woman came up to me and asked me who I was. I introduced myself, and then she lowered her voice and did her best Tom Bunger imitation: "I'm Tom Bunger, KNOM Update News!" — a phrase which I said 6 or seven times a day but never expected to hear come out of the mouth of someone I had just met.
As a news reporter, I would go to work, read the news into a microphone, and do some DJ shifts. I was alone in a booth but taking part in a very intimate, personal experience. People who listen to the same radio station every day form a bond with the people who are on the air. They trust us to report the news accurately and to warn them when the next big storm is coming.
Even though I only met a fraction of KNOM's listeners, I was with them at fish camp, in the car, at their desks, and in their homes. They invited me in.
It was this incident and others like it that reminded me to say "thank you for listening" often when I was on the air. Years later, I am still thankful to have been a part of KNOM and to have earned the trust of so many loyal listeners.
Stories like Tom's continue to recur with each new generation of KNOM volunteers: all made possible through your support.
Lord, your will. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.
Earlier this summer, Nome's landline telephone service was disrupted in the wake of an accidentally-severed phone line. Many homes and offices – including ours – couldn't call long-distance or even, in some cases, call across town.
While technicians worked on the problem, KNOM became a go-to source for information on the status of the repair and on contingency channels of communication for city agencies.
We were gratified to help ease dysfunction and confusion during the phone outage, which was thankfully brief, and we thank you for allowing us to be present in a special way for our listeners. Year-round, our mission continues to address challenges and situations we don't always expect!