Transmission 451:   July 2003

In this issue:

full size

full size

full size

full size


Dear Friend of KNOM,

The tundra has turned green, at least for a few weeks, and we are in the middle of another brief Arctic summer.

Although an average July day here brings fog and +45°, we can enjoy a few glorious days.  Here’s hoping!

As you can see, there is always a lot happening at our little mission station.  We thank you sincerely for your making our work possible. 

Our powerful signal beams into villages and even smaller points for a hundred thousand miles, 24 hours a day, thanks to you.

PLAYING TAG (left):  KNOM engineer Les Brown holds the tag line for our tower’s new beacon as it begins a 233-foot journey to the top.

In June, a three-man climbing crew from Anchorage swapped out lighting assemblies, straightened the tower and plumbed it (made it perfectly vertical), re-tensioned the guy wires and took care of other needed maintenance.

(Left) Tower worker Bill Morris hitches up the beacon.

The tower’s electrical conduit required a half-day of attention.

We were relieved to discover that the 33-year-old spot welds connecting tower sections were okay.   We had feared that due to Nome’s harsh winter conditions, new welds might have been necessary.

The  June work was the tower’s first thorough overhaul ever.  It will continue to need annual plumbing, but no major maintenance until its next repainting two or three years from now.

At the end of June, we are still waiting for the bill, which we expect to be around $25,000.  The crew, who are not of our faith, were impressed by our operation and promised to shave our cost wherever possible. 

As you’ll see below, the new lights alone will save the mission a lot of money over the years.     We thank each of our friends who have offered to help with this work.  Thank you!

UPSY DAISY  (left):  The 91-pound “L.E.D.” beacon assembly is en route to the top of the tower, where climber Barney Griffith awaits. 

Installation of the beacon went smoothly, and it was lighted and flashing about four hours later in the early evening of June 2nd.

The crew encountered one problem:  our 33-year-old electrical junction boxes had corroded and needed to be chipped away and replaced.

Replacing the conventional bulbs with Light Emitting Diodes (high-brightness versions of the devices that illuminate numbers on clock radios) will result in tremendous savings.
   The beacon consumes only 75 Watts of electricity.  Two side lamps, halfway up the tower, use only 12.5 Watts each.  That totals only 100 Watts, compared with 1,472 Watts for the old-style bulbs!

Further, the L.E.D.s are guaranteed to last five years and are expected to last ten, whereas conventional bulbs require annual replacement that, by law, involves the expense of flying in at least two licensed tower climbers.

After paying for the cost of the lights and the labor to install them, that represents an eventual $30,000 in savings to the mission.

Another plus:  the new lights are brighter!

19,800:  That’s how many inspirational spots KNOM has broadcast so far this year, along with an equal number of educational ones.

SQEAKY CLEAN:  In June, we underwent an exhaustive “alternative” FCC inspection.  Down to the very tiniest detail, we were declared to be in compliance with all FCC rules and regulations.

Unlike a traditional FCC inspection, which spot checks a few areas, the alternative inspection digs into everything.

Former Minnesota broadcast engineer Ken Benner performs these inspections every three years to ensure that stations follow the letter of the law.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:   Each of us is engaged in a three-way election throughout our entire lives.  God votes for our soul to go to heaven; evil casts its vote for hell.  And we cast the deciding vote.



full size


A LITTLE “OFF:”  The tower work took us off the air for about 20 hours over the course of five days.  One village woman called to say  “I keep telling the elders that you’ll be back.  I tell them everything is going to be okay.” 

A man telephoned asking when we’d resume broadcasting.  Without KNOM, he said, “I’m having a tough time right now.” 

(Left)  Though it's corroded internally, the old beacon assembly looks pretty good after lighting the top of the KNOM tower for nearly 33 years.

CLEANING UP CITY HALL:  June 21st, Nome mayor Leo B. Rasmussen jumped into the Bering Sea as a scholarship fundraiser during the local Rotary club’s annual Polar Bear Swim.  KNOM general manager Tom Busch developed a web site,, to attract contributions and program director Ric Schmidt took charge of collecting funds.  Both are past presidents of Nome Rotary Club. 

Please consider adding missions like KNOM to your will.  For most of us, such gifts will be the largest we will ever make, and they will make a longstanding, positive difference in many lives.  At KNOM, we place all bequests into emergency savings and funds that provide for long-term mission improvements.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:   Throughout the world, in nation after nation, men and woman have died for their Christian faith.  The very least we can do is live for our faith.


full size

full size

full size

full size

full size


RARE SIGHT (left):  Blue jeans are KNOM general manger Tom Busch’s usual garb -- he hasn’t worn a tuxedo since his high school prom.

June 9th, the National Association of Broad-casters sent Tom to Washington, DC for a gala dinner to honor radio and TV stations that excel in public service. 

All ten of 2003’s Crystal Award winning stations were represented at the event, which NAB dubbed “The Service to America Summit.”  It was held in the atrium of the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.

First Lady Laura Bush spoke to dinner guests, as did General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

NAB paid for the 8,000-mile round-trip.  “It was a head-spinner,” Tom said.  “I spent more time traveling than I did in Washington!”

(Left)  Tom, front row center, poses on stage with representatives from other Crystal Award-winning stations, and a few moments later, standing for a photograph in a side room..

CRYSTAL CLEAR:  KNOM program director Ric Schmidt pored through the historic list of radio stations which have won National Association of Broadcasters’ Crystal Award for Outstanding Community Service. 

Among the 170 honorees since 1987,  KNOM is the only religious station to win a Crystal.  And we have three of them, our most recent in April. 

We are also the only religious station to receive the Gabriel Radio Station of the Year Award.  And we have ten of them, our most recent in October 2002.  How about that?

THIRTY YEARS AGO:  In July 1973, volunteer Les Brown left KNOM, following a year of service.  A broadcast engineer and an announcer with a marvelous deep voice, Les embarked on a career marketing television studio equipment. 

In the 1990’s, Les began spending vacations helping the station in Nome, and when he “retired,” he rejoined KNOM as engineer in 1997.

STAYING AFLOAT:  News director Paul Korchin (in tricorner hat, standing) and all four KNOM volunteers were among eleven friends and one dog on a single home-made raft June 22nd, navigating eight miles of the Nome River during Nome’s annual Midnight Sun raft race. 

Also visible are volunteers Amy Flaherty (waving), Julia Dunlap (in front, paddling) and Emily Barrett (behind Julia).

The questionable craft took on water and became unstable, at one point throwing everyone but volunteer Julia into the drink.  The canine, incidentally, wore a doggy life vest.

(Left)  The crew pull the raft over shoals.

The oldest Catholic radio station in the United States, beaming throughout western Alaska, thanks to you. 

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:   Taking Jesus seriously means not only believing that He is God, but also acting like He is.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Love that does not enter the other person’s world is little more than a nice thought between your ears.


full size


WELCOME (left):  In June we greeted new KNOM volunteer Clinton White.  Here, Clinton is taking transmitter readings.

From Florence, AL, Clinton is a graduate of New York University with a degree in Photography.  That’s also his hobby.

23 years old, Clinton finds KNOM “a very supportive environment.

“I’m looking forward to the work -- the new place, and meeting all the new people,” he says.

OUR PLEDGE TO YOU:  At Alaska Radio Mission, we strictly adhere to PRECEPTS OF STEWARDSHIP adopted by the National Catholic Development Conference:

 1.  Our requests for support are truthful, forthright, theologically sound and in good taste.

 2.  Funds collected are used for the intended purpose and are not absorbed by excessive fundraising costs.

3.  We have the approval of appropriate religious authorities to raise funds.

 4.  Our parent organization, the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks (Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska) and Alaska Radio Mission are specifically mentioned in the Official Catholic Directory.

5.  We report to the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks at least once each year.

6.  An accountability statement (financial report) is available to our donors and is provided to  the NCDC office annually.  A detailed financial statement is provided to the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks annually.   Each December we print a summary in this newsletter.

7.  We do not engage in agreements which directly or indirectly base payment to a commercial  firm, individual, or organization on a percentage basis.

8.  We agree to honor any written request to remove a name from our mailing list.  Our mailing list will at all times be within our full ownership and control.

Further, we promise, as we have since 1966, that we will never provide your name and address to anyone. 

We are sincerely grateful for your prayerful and kind support.  We have great respect for you.  It is you who makes our mission possible and keeps it strong.

Thank you once again for your kindness and your prayers.  May Our Lord be with you. 

Home Volunteering Photo Gallery KNOM Staff Nome Static About KNOM

Copyright © 2003 KNOM. All rights reserved.
Send comments to