Transmission 512    March 2008

In this issue:


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Dear Friend of KNOM,

We thank you for making the Alaska Radio Mission a bright shining beacon of Faith, Hope and Love across western Alaska.   

In the latest news from the diocese, Bishop Donald J. Kettler, JCL, Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska, has announced he has decided to file for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the federal Bankruptcy Code. The diocese is still working on the details of the plan, which calls for a filing for reorganization on March 1st.

Through this process we are focused on keeping KNOM on the air serving over 20,000 daily listeners with uplifting, positive programming—24 hours a day. 

Will you redouble your prayers for our work?  Currently 100% of all donated funds are used to operate the radio station as energy costs in bush Alaska skyrocket.  We are tapping savings to cover the increased expenses.

The entire staff and volunteers join with you in support of this critical radio mission.  Together we will keep KNOM broadcasting for years to come for the people who need it most.


SONG OF PRAISE (left):  Like many KNOMers, volunteer inspiration director David Dodman also volunteers elsewhere, here as cantor for Masses at St. Joseph’s Parish.  

A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in music, David announces the late afternoon shift, and in spare time, enjoys creative writing poetry and fiction.


FOUNDATIONS:  Do you know someone associated with a foundation?  KNOM's studio consoles and computer system are aging, and at risk for failure. 

Replacing them will cost about $125,000, which is well beyond our means.  (We have been given about $80,000 for this.) 

The computer system features eight work stations where we record and edit inspirational and educational spots, news, interviews, and a station which plays back all recorded audio over the air, all day, every day.   

If you have a connection, would you consider connecting KNOM?


The oldest Catholic radio station in the United States, thanks to good people like you.

     INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Our Father, when we long for life without trials and work without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.  With stout hearts may we see in every calamity an opportunity and not give way to the pessimism that sees in every opportunity a calamity.

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UNKIND WINTER:  (left) General manager Ric Schmidt points to the studio furnace’s reset button, a control that’s seen plenty of use.

Meanwhile, with temperatures around –30º, a major failure brought the station within twenty degrees of freezing.  Brr!

From Albany, Oregon, Ric was a KNOM volunteer in 1984-85, and founding general manager of Catholic station KBVM in Portland for seven years.  He returned as program director in 1995, and was named general manager when Tom Busch moved to Anchorage after thirty years at the KNOM helm.


SCHOOL DAYS: (left)  Volunteer news reporter Jacob Buckenmeyer flew to the villages of Savoonga and Gambell on St. Lawrence Island to cover board meetings of the Bering Strait School District. 

This “local” school district includes 16 villages across more than 80,000 square miles of land — if it were a state, it would be the 15th largest in the Union. 

Gambell is 333 miles from the district’s headquarters in Unalakleet, the same distance that New York City is from Pittsburgh.  It’s all KNOM listening country.

Both Gambell and Savoonga are subject to extremely punishing winter blizzards.

 (Left)  In Savoonga, Jacob photographed the village's gas station.


WILLFULLY:  Please consider adding our Alaska Radio Mission to your will.  We prayerfully place all such gifts into funds that provide for emergencies, and provide for future major improvements.

May God bless you abundantly for your generosity.

     INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Jesus was born in a borrowed manger.  He preached from a borrowed boat.  He entered Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey.  He ate the Last Supper in a borrowed upper room and was buried in a borrowed tomb. 

     Does that tell us something about our own tendency to own so many things and make them so important in our lives?

     INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  A prescription for inner peace:  Forgive others totally.  Forgive everyone who has ever hurt us.  Take a leap of faith and trust and love.  Thank God.  Choose to experience peace rather than conflict.  Choose to experience love rather than fear and guilt.  Choose to be a love finder, rather than a fault finder.  And choose to be a love giver, rather than a love seeker.

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IS IT COLD AT THIRTY BELOW? (left)  You’d never know it from Kristina Proctor’s smile, around the corner from the KNOM studio.

Behind her, the  World War II Quonset hut is a family’s storage shed. 

Nearly destroyed by fire in 1934, Nome folks adopted 800 abandoned 1940s Army Quonsets and knock-down buildings.

In fact, the original KNOM volunteer dorms were knock-downs, until they’d deteriorated beyond repair in the early 1990s.

A first-year volunteer, Kristina supervises production of KNOM’s educational spots.


DO YOU KNOW a young person you think might make a great KNOM volunteer?  Please show them this:   

"What's your heart saying?  Want to be an inspiration to others and use your talents to the fullest?  Is volunteering the answer?  

If you're a young adult or recent college graduate, we invite you to send us an email to or check us out online at  

There you'll find tons of information about KNOM Radio, plus our volunteer opportunities.

Let your voice be heard and make a difference with KNOM Radio." 

 If you can, please pass it on!    


“NORTHERN EXPOSURE” MOMENT:  It was an unusual public service announcement on behalf of Nome Police, warning people to stay away from the north side of the town’s hospital.

The reason?  A mother moose with a calf had wandered in from the wilderness, probably to take a break from slogging through deep snow.  Nome does see the occasional critter.

(Left)  Yes, the moose were avoiding the drifts, but they were also doing their best to avoid contact with people.


THE MOST AWARD-WINNING RADIO STATION IN THE UNITED STATES?  We may be.  With 15 Gabriel Radio Station of the Year Awards, 4 NAB Crystal Awards for Excellence in Community Service and 2 Marconi “Religious Station of the Year” Awards, plus many others, it’s well possible.

    Thank you for helping sustain this important service throughout vast Western Alaska.


     INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  "Dear Friend, if you ever need to talk, or share a dream, cry a tear, or be comforted, reassured or understood, remember:  I am always with you.  Your secrets are safe with Me, and I will always love you," says the Lord.

     INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  People are never more tall than when they kneel before God; never more dependable than when they depend on God; never stronger than when they draw on God's strength; never so wise as, in their lack of wisdom, they seek Divine guidance.  Truly, people who most rely on God will be the most reliable people.

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Transcript of two minutes of the KNOM finish line broadcast.









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ALAPAH!  The nearly-universal word among Eskimo languages is pronounced ah-lah-PAH!  Translation?  “It’s cold!” 

(Above left) With 643 souls, the village of Gambell huddles on the western tip of St. Lawrence Island.  Illuminated by the sun is the frozen Bering Sea. 

Looking in this direction on a clear day, you can see the mountains of Russia, which is only 35 miles away.  (The photo’s by Jacob Buckenmeyer.)

Nearly every Gambell adult is a daily and enthusiastic KNOM listener.


FORTY YEARS AGO:  March 1968 in Anchorage, volunteer Paul Deiser earns his Second Class and First Class Radiotelephone Licenses from the FCC, and is working on a ham radio license, too.  Deiser is set to become the Catholic station’s founding chief engineer, but leaves a few months later as paperwork stalls construction. 


THIRTY YEARS AGO:  March 19, 1978, after 1,049 miles, two teams run neck and neck down Nome’s Front Street, and Dick Mackey wins the Iditarod by one-half second. 

Tom Busch’s excited description of the thrilling finish becomes one of the best known live radio broadcasts in Alaska history.

Meanwhile, KNOM reports that at a side event, a dog named “Butter” wins the dog weight pull contest, hauling a sled with 590 pounds of weights 25 feet in 63.5 seconds.


“LED” THERE BE LIGHT:  In early summer 2003, KNOM replaced our tower lights with highly efficient Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).  LEDs use far less electricity than traditional bulbs, for our beacon and side lamps, 100 watts as opposed to 1,472 watts.  (And they’re much brighter!)

Over the past five years, this has shaved a whopping $44,000 off our electric bills, as well as about $40,000 in transportation and payment for licensed climbers to replace the old style bulbs annually.

It’s one way in which we strive to use your gifts as efficiently as possible.  To everyone who helped with this 2003 installation, thank you!

(Left) Chief engineer for KNOM at the time, Les Brown holds the tag line for the tower's LED beacon as workers hoist it to the top.



YES, WE NEED YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER.  We pray for you, your intentions, and everyone you love.  May Our Father bless you a thousand times over for your kindness.

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