Transmission 410:  May 2000

In this issue:

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Dear Friend of KNOM,

 Please give yourself a pat on the back!  Thanks to your kind help, KNOM has been honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Crystal Award!

The Crystal is given to “top radio stations, stations whose commitment to community service is clear and substantial.”  It is among the most coveted tributes in broadcasting.  This is KNOM’s second Crystal; NAB presented KNOM one of the inaugural Crystal Awards back in 1987.  

As you know, we don’t labor in order to win awards.  We’re here to beam inspiration, education, information and companionship into isolated, far-flung villages throughout western Alaska, 24 hours a day.  

Thank you for your faith in our important work, for your prayers on our behalf and for your financial support.  It’s you who keeps our mission alive and strong.

SMILES:  In KNOM’s front office, our newest volunteer, Victoria, holds KNOM’s newest Crystal Award.

Shocked and delighted, general manager Tom Busch accepted the honor on stage in Las Vegas “on behalf of the thousands of good people who make KNOM possible.”

Tom was handed the award by NAB president Eddie Fritts, who said privately “you really deserve this.”

In a press release, Fritts announced “we’re pleased to honor KNOM for its exceptional commitment to its listeners time and time again.”

In receiving its second Crystal, our remote mission is in rarified territory. Other winners included stations in Minneapolis, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:   There are times when we must do the most simple tasks, like washing a floor or picking berries.
Jesus invites us to use these times to still our hearts and receive His graces.  This is the gift of a contemplative spirit, contemplation during simple tasks.


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KNOM is the oldest Catholic radio station in the United States, beaming God’s love into dozens of distant Eskimo, Athapascan Indian and Aleut villages.  Our only source of operating income is the contributions of wonderful people like you.  Thank you!    

HOW’S THE RECEPTION?  That’s what we’ll ask program director Ric Schmidt next month, after he returns from a trip to Washington, DC, paid for by the National Association of Broadcasters.  They’re honoring Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, and are flying in representatives from Crystal Award winning stations.

14,000:  That’s how many inspirational spots KNOM has broadcast so far during the year 2000.  (It’s also the number of educational ones we’ve aired.)  Thank you for helping to make this tremendous work possible!

THIRTY YEARS AGO:  Because of pending land claims by  Native Alaskans, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior had imposed a “land freeze” which prohibited transfer of public Alaskan land without his okay, with prior approval of the U.S. House and Senate Interior Committees.

Although the application for a new Catholic station otherwise passed muster, the FCC refused to issue a construction permit until he had secured the transmitter site land.  The mission had requested a 50-year Right-of-Way for a barren patch of tundra located at the mouth of the Nome River, 3.3 miles east of Nome.

Without FCC approval, work could not begin on studio areas.  

However, the growing mission needed new volunteer bedrooms, and volunteer carpenters Tom Karlin and Leigh Birkeland began to frame out an addition to the future studio building, with help from apprentice Tom Busch, who discovered that nails refuse to penetrate wood when the temperature’s below -30°.

In Nome, the wait was frustrating.  In May 1970, Father Poole received a letter from U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, which read:

"The Senate Committee on Insular Affairs is requesting of the Department of the Interior a precise explanation of what action is required by the Committee to allow the Department to proceed with the granting of permits and rights of way for the radio station....
I will do whatever I can to get this taken care of in the shortest time possible."

Organizers maintained hope and patience.  For several years, they had promised his few hundred contributors that the Catholic station would be on the air “soon.”

YOUR STAMP HELPS:  It sure does.  We gladly pay Business Reply Mail postage for contributions.  However, if you add a 33-cent stamp, the post office refunds us that amount, and you’ve made an extra donation.  As you can imagine, those 33-cent contributions add up!  Thank you! 

ON MIKE:  Bishop Michael Kaniecki, SJ visited KNOM in April, during a Jubilee Year trip to parishes in Nome and the villages of Teller and Little Diomede.

The bishop celebrated Mass in the KNOM front office, followed by a pizza dinner for the station’s staff and families.

As Bishop of Fairbanks, Bishop Kaniecki 
is KNOM’s owner.  He has been a good friend, and a strong and helpful mentor to our mission, since he was installed as bishop in 1985.  

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Jesus came not as a king, but through the simplicity of a stable.  God entered a world filled with boring daily tasks for which few are revered:  the world of family and work, the world of daily labor and household chores.
     God took the ordinary and boring, and He blessed it and made it holy.



HAMMIER!  Congratulations to two more KNOM staff who have earned amateur radio licenses, news director Paul Korchin (who scored 100% on both required tests!), KLØWS, and volunteer news reporter Victoria, call sign KLØWT.  KNOM manager Tom Busch, NL7H, was one of the proud Volunteer Examiners.

The Nome area has several mountaintop repeaters, allowing hams to talk to Nome from as far as a hundred miles away.  It’s a great “safety net” in the event of an emergency in the wilderness.

ORDINATION:  Former KNOM volunteer Ross Tozzi, studying for the priesthood, will be ordained to the deaconate on June 11th in Fairbanks.  “God willing,” Ross writes, his ordination to the priesthood will take place in Nome, July 14, 2001, which is also KNOM’s 30th anniversary.

Meanwhile Ross has sent us his Masters of Divinity project, entitled “The KNOM Mission:  Inspire, Educate, Entertain.”

In his thesis, Ross intertwines KNOM’s mission and purpose with Church teachings, insights into Alaska native anthropology and culture, and some of his own pastoral experiences at the KNOM mission.

If you would like to read this 28-page work, just drop us a line and we will be happy to send you a copy.

Please consider adding missions like KNOM to your will.  We place all bequests into 
emergency savings and funds which provide our mission long-term improvements.

LIGHT TOPICS:  Though there’s plenty of snow remaining on the ground, we’re already into the arctic summer.

As the sun headed north, April 8th was Nome’s last day in which the sky was truly dark.  We won’t see full darkness again until the early morning of September 3rd.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT: Let everything be natural in you and let it come from the Holy Spirit.

Now everything which flows from this Spirit is gentle, mild, modest and humble.

Strength and mildness, that is the divine action:  it is also a summary of all apostolic activity.

                            - Francis Libermann


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FAREWELL: We bade a tearful goodbye to volunteer Michael Warren, who left our mission early, in order to interview for teaching positions in the Philadelphia area.

During his KNOM years, Michael produced hundreds of public affairs programs.

Both we and the KNOM audience will greatly miss him.  

Please join us in prayer that this energetic and wonderful young man will enjoy a future that is filled with God’s blessings.

SIGNS OF SPRING:  As temperatures reach into the +40’s, ocean currents and winds push the pack ice away from the beach at Nome, leaving a quarter-mile of ice stuck to shore.   By early May, the ice in open water breaks up into floes ranging in size from a mile wide to chunks the size of dinner plates.

It’s in these treacherous waters that the spring hunt for seal and walrus takes place, as Alaska’s coastal native people take to the water, most of them in umiaqs (OO-me-aks), boats with wooden frames covered with walrus hides.

The success of the hunt can be critical, as these marine mammals can account for as much as half of a coastal family’s food.  Like their ancestors going back thousands of years, Alaska’s northerly Inupiat (in-OO-pee-at) and more southern Yup’ik (YOO-pik) people make use of almost every part of the animals.

By the time you receive this, we’ll still be a month away from the first green of the short western Alaska summer.  Please enjoy springtime for us!

Thank you again for your prayers for our mission, for your thoughtfulness and your financial assistance.  We wish that across these many miles we could personally shake your hand.  

Until next time, may you enjoy the Peace of the Lord.  May He bring you and those you love the grace to live always in His Name, with strength, joy and courage.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  When the going is all uphill...just think of the view from the top.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  If a person could not go 24 hours without drinking, most would say that person has a problem with alcohol.  What about the person who cannot go 24 hours without saying something unkind.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:   The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.

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