Transmission 478    August 2005

In this issue:

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Dear Friend of KNOM,

The average first frost of the winter touches Nome’s tundra on August 19th.  

As we batten down for another nine-month season of cold and snow, we pause to reflect on your goodness.

Our mission relies entirely upon the generosity of kind people like you. 

We are happy that you are part of the KNOM family.

Thank you so very much for your financial help and for your prayers that allow us to operate this beacon in the arctic.


KNOM NEWS DIRECTOR PAUL KORCHIN (left) has 46 minutes to prepare the mission’s next hourly newscast at :55 past the hour. 

Recently, Paul produced a half-hour program that was painful and difficult, yet inspiring and heartening.  It  featured Dennis Gaboury, a victim of sexual abuse by a Massachusetts priest some forty-five years ago.

The program was at the request of the Diocese of Fairbanks, KNOM’s licensee, who paid for Dennis’ travel to Nome with hope that the telling of his story will encourage victims to come forward for healing and justice.

Dennis’ life took many awful turns as he grew older.  In 1982 he began to suffer flashbacks of memory.  He realized what had happened to him at the age of ten, and sought help a few years later.  In the early 1990’s, he discovered 133 other men who had been hurt by the same priest.

Dennis told KNOM listeners “to take power away from the secret,” and he said that he is happy with steps the Church has taken to prevent such life-destroying events from occurring. 

“Hopefully,” he said, “in thirty years there won’t be any lawsuits, because there won’t be any victims.”


A SOLEMN PROMISE:  We restate a pledge we have made to our contributors since 1966: 

We respect your privacy. 

We never have, and we never will give your name and address to anyone or any organization for any reason.


SPECIAL PROGRAMS  this past month discussed subjects such as:

  • Native art

  • rural Alaska dental care

  • education

  • boarding schools

  • tobacco

  • bush electric generation

  • victims of violence

  • alcohol abuse recovery

  • drug abuse prevention

among many others.  Thank you for making all of our programming possible!


You'll find an index of every Nome Static photo since May 1997, with links to full size images, at

Look, too, for our general photo page,

We invite you to brows through our hundreds of pictures.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Come work for the Lord.  The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low.  But the retirement benefits are out of this world!


INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Show your love of Christ to someone today, and Christ will show His love for you forever.


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GOODBYE:  We bid farewell to Katie Ringenbach (left), who ended her volunteer year of news reporting July 20th and headed home to Columbus, Ohio.  Katie had intended to remain in Nome, working in social services, but decided at the last minute to return to the Lower 48.

Among Katie’s beats was the village of Savoonga, where cancer rates are high and people’s blood levels of PCB’s, among other pollutants, are eight times higher than normal, presumably because of World War II military bases on the island.

“In late June, (fellow KNOM’er) Amy Flaherty and I were in the village of Unalakleet on our days off, fishing with a family we know,” Katie said. 

“It really was a family operation.  It was then that I realized how much I miss my own family.  There’s so much I have yet to learn from my grandmother.  I began to really feel the isolation from them.”

Will Katie return to western Alaska?  “Stay tuned,” she says with a smile.  Thanks, Katie!


SPOT CHECK:  This month, educational spots on KNOM dealt with topics that included: 

  • child literacy

  • Fetal Alcohol Effects

  • burn treatment

  • litter

  • Alaska history

  • Native Alaska history

  • United States history

  • Arctic science

  • parenting

  • food safety

  • gun safety

  • all-terrain vehicle safety

  • diabetes prevention

  • bicycle helmets

  • domestic violence

among others.   Four such spots air every hour, along with four inspirational ones.


BIG SPLASH:  This past month, KNOM Update News kept western Alaskans informed on progress of a unique adventure, as Nome audiologist Phil Hofstetter paddled a kayak from Nome to Barrow.  Mostly he hugged the coast, although there was one perilous 34-mile trek across open ocean. 

The purpose of his trip was a serious one, to raise money for research into treatment of leukemia, and to raise cancer awareness in the region.

And awareness is needed.

In western Alaska, almost everything works against cancer diagnosis and treatment.  There are vast distances without roads.  Screening and treatment can be two plane trips away. 

Further, many people don’t think they can afford to leave home during the summer, as they need to gather food for the upcoming winter.  With hard work, health professionals believe that eventually, cancer will no longer be the number one cause of death among village Alaskans.

KNOM plays a supporting role in that effort, as we educate our listeners on what symptoms to be wary of, how they can seek cancer detection, and ways by which some cancers can be avoided.


KNOM is the oldest Catholic radio station in the United States, hard at work, thanks to you.




A group of nuns in a foreign country wanted to join in a demonstration against a corrupt government.  They believed it was their moral obligation to speak out. 

Others from the convent disagreed.  They said “it’s too dangerous, it’s improper for us to politically demonstrate.”

The community agreed that those who wanted to demonstrate could do so.  Those who wanted to express their disagreement with the government but were unable to do so could support the demonstration with food and medical assistance.  Those who disapproved would pray.

God calls some to action, others to support, and others to prayer.  All do as they believe is right.  All follow Christ.



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WELL LETTERED:  (left)  If you write a note to KNOM, chances are that business manager Lynette Schmidt will be the person who opens it.

When rearranging the KNOM storage room last year, Lynette and Florence Busch discovered a couple of old business ledgers detailing daily contributions to the mission. 

The earliest entry was for October 5, 1970, nine months before KNOM signed on the air.

While leafing through the journal this past month, Lynette and Tom Busch noticed many names of friends who have gone to the Lord. 

They also discovered names that are familiar today, kind people who have been faithfully contributing to this radio mission for thirty-five years or more. 

“They have been there for us every time,” Lynette said, “and our listeners owe them so much.  We have faced many challenges together.”

Thank you for your help, whether you have donated for more than a third of a century, or since only yesterday. 

Our mission is possible because of the goodness of many people, helping as they can.


SMOKE GETS IN YOUR ICE:  At one point this summer, there were 111 lightning-sparked wildfires burning across Alaska, blackening more than a million acres. 

Some villages in KNOM’s easternmost fringe areas saw occasional periods of dense smoke, though none was threatened.


WILL POWER:  Please consider adding KNOM to your will.  As we have promised for many years, we prayerfully place all bequests into a fund that provides for major improvements to the mission, as well as for emergencies, to help continue our work long into the future.


Today’s society tells us we should be tolerant and open-minded regarding new ideas, especially when they are in conflict with the truth. 

But there’s a big difference between new ways of seeing the truth and changing the truth.

Lord, teach me to know that difference so that my open mind will be closed for repairs when the wrong ideas come knocking.



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COTTONING:  (left)  Alaska cotton grass thrives on the marshy tundra surrounding the KNOM AM tower.

You’ll also find scrub willows and a variety of small wildflowers, as well as low bush blueberries and crowberries. 

These plants are miraculously hardy, as on the average, Nome has only 82 days a year that are free of frost.


MOVED IN:  Tom and Florence Busch thank their many friends who have asked about their transition to Anchorage.  Their new home is finished, and they’re in, though still surrounded with boxes. 

As you may have read, Tom continues to work for the mission as fundraiser and financial director, as well as maintenance engineer.

"I have the best of both worlds,” he says.  “I can concentrate on my daily work without the day-to-day bustle of being in a very active radio station, and I still get to travel to Nome occasionally.”

Tom and Florence continue to pray for all of KNOM’s benefactors, and they thank you most sincerely for your prayers, too.


MOVED THROUGH:  In June, it was great to see former KNOM engineer Les Brown and his wife Paula, visiting from Grass Valley, CA

Les planned to be in Nome for much of August, installing a new audio mixing console in the engineering shop.  We’ll try for a photo next month!


WANNA IGUANA?  Not really, though one of the reptiles made a silent appearance in Studio A during Amy Flaherty’s morning show recently. 

KNOM listeners learned a little bit about the animal, which volunteer Katie Ringenbach was pet-sitting for a vacationing teacher.


COVER STORY:  There’s a long-unseen bit of art that we would like to use for the cover of the KNOM book. 

We believe it is not copyrighted, and are researching if we need to secure the right to use it, and if so, how. 

We apologize for the delay in the book’s publication, but we hope, with a picture or an inspirational spot on every one of its 250 pages, you will say that it was worth the wait.

 (Left)  Click on the image for a few sample pages of the book.


WE CLOSE with a prayer of thanksgiving for your help. 

Thank you! 

May Our Lord reward you greatly for your sacrifices and your prayers on our mission’s behalf. 

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