Transmission 523    January 2009

 In this issue:















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Dear Friend of KNOM,

Thus far, our mission has served six generations of western Alaskans, and before long, we will be serving a seventh.  We thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for your kind and generous help and for your prayers.  It’s a long effort, but together, we are improving lives.

If you followed us last year, you know that 2008 brought some serious bumps in the road for the KNOM mission. 

Still, thanks to you, we succeeded in well serving remote, mostly Alaska Native families throughout 100,000 far-flung square miles.

It is a vast area where most Catholic parishes are lucky to see a priest once a month, and where, if you want to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it’s likely your only choice is praying with the KNOM broadcast.

It’s also a region where poverty is endemic.  As we wrote in November, name a problem, and it’s endemic, too.  Troubles like inhalant abuse and alcoholism, suicide and death for all reasons, occur at rates that are many times the United States averages.

The good news is that things are gradually improving.  Less positive is the realization that solutions to these problems will span even more generations.

Thank you again for your support and your prayers. 

AWARDS:  (left) KNOM general manager Ric Schmidt sits in the KNOM front office, surrounded by some of the honors which our mission work has been given.

On the top shelf are four of our seventeen Gabriel Radio Station of the Year Awards.  Below them are special honors from the Alaska Broadcasters Association.

Just above Ric, at both ends, are our two National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Religious Station of the Year Awards, and between them, our four NAB Crystal Awards for Excellence in Community Service.

On the wall are various honors from the Alaska Broadcasters Association, such as Best Public Affairs Program and Best Service to the Community.

If you visit KNOM, you will see 68 other awards which are not in this photo.

While it’s nice to be recognized, our goal, rather than winning awards and honors, is to serve the isolated people of western Alaska, chiefly Alaska Natives, with education, information, inspiration and positive companionship, 24 hours a day.  Thank you for being an important participant in our work!


    INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Truth is not always popular, but it is always right.

    INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Saint Catherine of Sienna said “The only thing we can offer to God of value is to give our love to people as unworthy of it as we are to God’s love.”

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GOING FOR THE GOLD:  (left) KNOM volunteer inspiration director Danielle Sylvester poses in Nome’s Anvil City Square, which boasts one of the largest gold pans in the world.

In her own life, Danielle has “gone for the gold.” 

Shortly before joining KNOM last summer, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a dual degree in Philosophy and Communications & Rhetoric from Nazareth College of Rochester. 

From Akron, New York, she is passionate about sports and the outdoors, as well as helping to improve the lives of others.

Currently, she is in training to become an Emergency Medical Technician for the Nome Volunteer Ambulance Service.


TAXING EFFORT:  In January, we are mailing receipts for each person who gave our mission $100 or more during 2008. 

We are happy to provide a receipt for anyone.  We welcome you to contact KNOM business manager Lynette Schmidt, who will send you one promptly.


SHAPING YOUR LEGACY:  Last year, we lost one of our most faithful contributors.  He had never given large sums, but as with all of our donors, we found it a joy every time we heard from him.  In December, we were sent a gift of $50,000. 

He had remembered us in his will.

As with all bequests to our mission, his final gift was prayerfully placed into a special fund that provides for major improvements or repairs, or helps the mission weather future emergencies.

We are reminded of the recent words of investment expert Charles Schwab, who wrote “it’s not always easy to think about the world continuing on without us.  But you can help shape that world for the better by leaving a legacy that reflects the things you care about most deeply.

“The aim of building and protecting wealth isn’t simply to increase our account balances,” Schwab continues.  “For most of us, it’s the means to an end.  The financial decisions we make today have the power not only to keep us and our families secure during our own lifetimes, but also to build something that will outlast us.

 “Your vision of a legacy is as personal as your fingerprints,” Schwab says.  “Whether it’s helping your grandchildren go to college, donating to a favorite charity or continuing to champion a cause, a legacy is really about you declaring ‘This is what matters to me.’”

Thank you so very much for caring for our mission work and the good people whom we serve!


      INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  My chief care should not be to find pleasure or success, health or life or money or rest, or even things like virtue and wisdom…still less their opposites, pain, failure, sickness, death.

     But in all that happens, my one desire and my one joy should be to know “here is the thing that God has willed for me.”

      In this, God’s Love is found, and in accepting this I can give back that love to God and give myself with it.

     For in giving myself, I shall find God, who is life everlasting.

                                                                                   Thomas Merton

      INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Just like the Jewish people of the Old Testament, we, too, can be slaves.  Slaves to sin.  Slaves to our addictions.  Slaves to what is logical and what feels good.
      But Our Savior is by our side, ready to break the chains of sin, if we simply believe His promise and follow Him.

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 WELCOME:  (left) Meet John Francis, KNOM’s  new volunteer deputy news director.

After graduating Pottsville High School in Arkansas in 2002, John sought to continue his education but not in the normal college lifestyle.

After managing a game store for three years, in 2005 he moved to Orlando, Florida.   In 2007, after 2 years of relentless 50-60 hour school weeks he graduated with a degree in Computer Arts from Full Sail University in Winter Park.

Early in 2008, John opened a freelance web design company in Russellville, Arkansas with a focus in small businesses and private groups. After finding an article featuring KNOM, he applied for a volunteer position and was soon accepted and on board a plane to Alaska.

He is an avid traveler while also enjoying games, music, books, and movies.   Since arriving in Nome, John has enjoyed the friendliness of the people and the constant community activities that take place.  We know that you will join is in welcoming John warmly.


SILENT NIGHT:  During her afternoon show the week before Christmas, Laureli Kinneen was recalling how she learned to sing the hymn “Silent Night” in the Inupiat (in-OO-pee-at) Eskimo language while in grade school.  And then she broke into song.

Throughout the vast KNOM listening area, you could hear a pin drop.


THANKS:  Recently, a man dropped by from the village of Chevak, 206 road-less miles south of Nome.  (The red star on the map at left marks its location.)

He pointed to his heart.  KNOM is a good station,” he said.  “You touch my heart.  You touch my heart.” 

         INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  You are a child of God.  Call home!


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GETTING THE JOB DONE: (left)  Thursday mornings, you’ll hear Caroline Hyner, the voice of the Nome office of the State of Alaska’s Job Service.

The 20-minute program, which has aired every week for about fifteen years, lists employment opportunities.

Caroline, who enjoys hosting the program, is also active in Nome’s parish.


FORTY YEARS AGO:  January 17, 1969: Pending resolution of the rights of Alaska Natives, the federal Bureau of Land Management issues Public Land Order Number 4582, withdrawing all unreserved public lands in Alaska.

This action blocks the fledgling Nome Catholic radio project from receiving a right-of-way for its transmitter site, and from applying for a construction permit from the Federal Communications Commission.


TWENTY YEARS AGO:  January 27–28, 1989: Nome hits an all-time low temperature of fifty-four below zero.

The volunteers discover that legendary advice from former Bishop Robert Whelan, SJ, is true: If you toss a cup of boiling water into the air when the temperature is below minus fifty, the water disappears into a cloud of vapor with a soft “poof.” 

Another trick they try is blowing soap bubbles, which shatter like glass.

In a stroke of bad luck, the over-taxed boiler that heats St. Joseph's Church, the Community House and Girl's Dorm quits on the 27th.  Working in fifty-degree-below-zero weather, maintenance chief Br. Ray Berube, FIC, gets the furnace working, but the church heating lines have frozen and burst in more than twenty places.

With nowhere to hold Sunday Mass, pastor Fr. Chuck Peterson, SJ, puts the call over KNOM for parishioners to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice the same way many remote villagers to, by praying along with the KNOM broadcast.  He offers Mass in KNOM Studio C.

WEB EXTRA:  (Left) An aerial photo of the KNOM and other Catholic buildings in Nome between 1973 and 1990, together with a key diagram.  Except for the studio and garage, all of them were "KD" (knockdown) prefabricated buildings constructed by the U.S. Army during World War II.  Poorly insulated and by 1980 literally falling apart, they served the KNOM mission until 1990, when two were demolished and portions of the others were sold.


TEN YEARS AGO:  January 8, 1999, brutal north winds blast across most of western Alaska, gusting to 100 MPH at our remote transmitter site.  Sensing the power line’s instability, an automatic control turns on the generator, and a moment later, when power totally completely fails, the generator comes on line so quickly that the transmitter never goes off the air.

Installed only the previous spring, the hardy little generator keeps KNOM on the air at full power for 26 hours.  It is the unit’s first major test, the first of many.


LIGHT: By the time you read this, Nome will be enjoying five hours of sunlight each day.  Yay!


As always, you and your intentions are in our daily prayers.  Thank you, thank you, for keeping our signal of inspiration and encouragement beaming strong.  May God bless you abundantly!

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