Transmission 480    October 2005

In this issue:









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Dear Friend of KNOM,

It is several weeks since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast.  While we are four thousand miles apart, our hearts and prayers go to the many people who lost loved ones and their homes.

In September, KNOM’s Amy Flaherty produced a special call-in program to help raise funds for victims.

We expect that many charities, including KNOM, will also suffer from this terrible disaster.

We cannot ask anyone not to send gifts to the homeless or those who are hurting. 

We do ask you, however, to remember that our expenses continue.  Without the prayers and financial support of many friends like you, this mission would quickly cease to exist.

With so many of these friends helping folks in dire need, please pray that someone will pitch in to ensure that our work continues, won’t you? 

May God abundantly bless you.


ON THE LEVEL:   Like most of Nome’s buildings, KNOM’s studio rests on pilings that are frozen into the permafrost.  At twelve years of age, it was time to call in a contractor to re-level the place.  To everyone’s amazement, the studio was perfectly level!

(Left)  It’s a different story for the 80-foot microwave tower behind the studio.  General manager Ric Schmidt kneels beside it.

One of its three 40-foot-deep H-beam pilings drilled into the permafrost continues to sink a fraction of an inch every year, perhaps due to an underground stream.

In the top photo, general manager Ric Schmidt kneels by this tower leg.  To keep the tower base level, steel riggers have elevated this leg with adjustable screws.

(Second image) Those screws are running out of play, and will have to be replaced - carefully! - with longer ones, perhaps as early as next summer. 

(Left)  Remarkably, the other two pilings have not moved in thirteen years. 

(Below left) The tower, viewed from below.  It includes the KNOM-FM antenna (not visible, as it's on the far side), microwave antennas that send audio to the AM transmitter and receive data from it, and receiving antennas that allow us to broadcast from other locations, in order to cover events such as important meetings.    



Have you visited the Nome Static archive?  You'll find every issue since May 1997, as well as an index of the hundreds of photographs that have appeared since that time. 


 INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  How far you go in life depends on how tender you are with the young, how compassionate you are with the aged, how sympathetic you are with those who are striving, and how tolerant you are of both the weak and the strong.

     Because someday in life, you will have been all of them.

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AT BAT:  (Left)  KNOM public affairs director Amy Flaherty works in what’s officially News Two, but which everyone calls “the Bat Cave.”

It’s a tiny nook of the engineering shop that Les Brown turned into an efficient little audio mixing facility this summer. 

To help soften the sound of blowers from the room’s many computers, transmitters and other equipment, Les surrounded the work station with dark sound-absorbing foam.

Amy uses the new mini-studio to edit news interviews recorded in KNOM’s larger, soundproof studios and in the field.


A GAS:  In September, Nome’s gasoline prices hit $3.99 a gallon and were headed higher.

In the villages, where snowmobiles and boats provide subsistence livelihood, prices were in the $5.00 range.


WHY WE ARE HERE:  Our mission is on the air for many reasons.  First, we are here to bring broadcasts of the Mass, Rosary and other Catholic programs to this remote region, where many villages see a priest only occasionally.

We are here to inspire and educate, and to provide wholesome entertainment.

Another purpose is to help eliminate the many horrible problems which are endemic in western Alaska.  There is no way to state them gently. 

Here is a sampling from various state and federal sources:

  • Sucide is more than twice the national average, half by 15- to 24-year-olds.  In fact, suicide is western Alaska’s number one cause of death.

  • Child abuse is two times the national average.  So is the teenage birth rate.  So is murder.  So is accidental injury. 

  • The incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is 2.5 times the nation’s average.

  • About one-third of the homes in this region have less than 100 square feet per person.  More than one-third of homes house two or more families.

  • During a typical year, one out of eight Native males between the age of 14 and 17 is involved with the juvenile justice system.

  • Rape occurs three times more often than the national average.

  • Tuberculosis is suffered at four times the average.

We thank you for joining our work.  Together, we labor to improve the lives of thousands of far-flung village residents of western Alaska in many ways.


INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Be what you’re supposed to be, do what you’re supposed to do, and leave the rest to God.

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT When that day finally comes when we make the big move from this world to the next, the only riches that we will be allowed to take with us are all that we have given away to those in need.

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DIRECTLY: (left)  When she’s not on the air, you’ll find KNOM program director Kelly Brabec in her office upstairs.

Keeping the mission signal’s appeal suited to a wide range of audiences is “a fine balancing act,” Kelly says.

She continues to evaluate the station’s programs and seek new ones, while maintaining KNOM’s air shift schedule, training announcers, developing station promotions and staffing volunteer recruiting fairs.  Thanks, Kelly!


APPLY TOPICALLY:   Topics you’d hear discussed over KNOM this past month included:

  •  juvenile justice in rural areas

  • village dental health aide therapists

  • Medicare prescription drug benefits for low-income participants

  • closure of the women’s shelter in the village of Emmonak (e-MAHNG-ek)

  • organic pollutant cleanup at Moses Point and the village of Elim

  •  western Alaska obstetrical needs

  • rural school upgrades and improvements. 

For many in our region, KNOM is the only source of information on subjects like these.  Thank you so much for making this possible.


A SHOCKING NUMBER:  According to a survey we recently noted, 29% of Americans 54 years of age and older do not have wills. 

As a consequence, state laws will determine where their assets will be placed.

If you haven’t already, we urge you to make a will.  And we ask that you consider including the KNOM mission in it. 

We prayerfully place all income from bequests into funds that will protect the mission from emergencies and help with future major improvements.


INSPIRATIONAL SPOT On this day:  mend a quarrel.  Dismiss a suspicion and replace it with trust.

     Write a letter to someone who misses you.  Encourage someone.  Keep a promise.  Examine your demands on others.

     Express your gratitude.  Overcome a fear.

     Show someone you love them and do it again…and again…and again....

INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Modern society tells us that pleasure is the proof of love, that if someone makes us happy, then it must be love.

     If this is true, once we are no longer happy, we must not be in love.

     Jesus teaches us another way.  It is a mutual willingness to sacrifice that is the proof of Christian love.  When our sacrifices are offered freely, our love is proven and God is pleased.


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NEWCOMER: (left)  Meet incoming volunteer  news reporter Jesse Zink.

Jesse was born in Vancouver, BC, and raised in Northampton, MA.

He comes to the mission with a BA in classics and political science from Acadia University, and an MA in international relations from the University of Chicago.

“In America, we know so little about one another,” Jesse says.  “I think in our age, we tend to pigeonhole people into caricatures.  It’s important to learn what other people experience.”

Jesse grew up in a house without television, “so radio played a big part in my life,” he says.

In his spare time, Jessie plays guitar.  “I’m working on the harmonica, and the banjo is next.”


PAY DIRT?  The City of Nome is looking for an archaeologist to sift through soil during work on Front Street, where they’re replacing the town’s original water and sewer lines that were installed in the late 1960’s.

The concern is a narrow sliver of property that has never been excavated, where they’ve unearthed chunks of Nome’s early 1900’s boardwalk.  So far, all they’ve discovered is rotten wood.


THIRTY YEARS AGO:  In October 1975 the KNOM transmitter site suffered a two-week power failure.  Its emergency generator was decreasingly reliable but as the KNOM crew held their breath, the unit was up to the task and kept the station on the air.


Once more, we offer you our thanks, and our daily prayers. 

May Our Almighty Father bless you and those you love abundantly.

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