Transmission 530    August 2009

 In this issue:



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Contribute Now

Dear Friend of KNOM,

Thank you, thank you!  It takes a huge amount of work, and a huge amount of enthusiastic support, to maintain this most active inspirational and educational radio station.

During the summer, we are especially needed, as families leave their villages for even more remote points to fish, hunt and gather berries and other tundra plants to put food on the table for winter.  For thousands of folks in these incredibly isolated spots, a battery radio playing KNOM is their only contact with the outside world.

For your friendship, your help and your prayers, we honor you.  We pray for you, those you love and your intentions every day.  May God grant you His peace, strength and many, many blessings.


HE’S BACK! (left) 2005-07 volunteer news reporter Jesse Zink returned to KNOM in July to help out for the summer.

For the past two years, he has volunteered at a medical mission in Mthatha, South Africa.

By virtue of his skin color and perceived wealth, in Mthaha, he always stood out.

“Now,” Jesse says, “I am just part of the crowd, which has been a relatively easy adjustment to make.”  Next month, Jesse moves on to study theology at Yale University.  Thank you, Jesse!


39TH YEAR:  July 14th at 4:30 PM, KNOM began the mission’s 39th year.  In that time, we’ve endured financial crises, fires, our tower nearly destroyed by an airplane and repeatedly by ice and120 MPH winds, blizzard after blizzard, two “hundred year” floods, frequent autumn storms with the intensity of hurricanes, the list is almost endless. 

Thanks to a dedicated, hardworking staff, and especially thanks to good people like you, KNOM’s managed to always be there for our listeners, with messages of hope and encouragement and prayer.  May the station enjoy many, many more.

(Left, July 14, 1971, Bishop Robert Whelan, SJ, pushes the tape recorder's remote PLAY button, starting KNOM's first program.  The prerecorded hour-long show is produced by volunteer Tom Busch.

It's announcer is deep voiced volunteer Leo Kehs (left).

From Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Leo hosts the weekday KNOM evening program.


Thank you for joining us at, and thank you for playing an important role in the work of the oldest Catholic radio station in the United States.


      INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Work as though everything depended on you.  Pray as though everything depended on God.


     INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Saint Augustine once said:  “Find out how much God has given you and from it, take what you need.  The remainder which you do not require is needed by others.

  “The superfluities of the rich are the necessities of the poor.  Those who retain what is superfluous possess the goods of others.”

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REAL “HARD” NEWS:  (left)  Many of our friends have wondered about the Sailor Boy Pilot Bread hardtack we mentioned in the most recent Nome Static.

In Studio A, public affairs director Laureli Kinneen  shows off one of the hardy crackers.  They keep forever, are practically indestructible, and are a staple of the western Alaska diet. You’ll find them in the KNOM coffee nook.


Q AND A:  We welcome questions from you about our mission.  Here are a couple we’ve received:

What is your mission’s purpose? 

Our signal serves many needs.  Among them, the need for Catholics to worship with the Mass — most villages which receive us see a priest rarely, or never. 

We serve an educational need. 

We provide discussion on topics of regional interest, such as solutions for suicide, homicide, accidental deaths, child abuse, alcoholism and rape, which occur at rates that are multiple times the U.S. average. 

We help preserve and promote Alaska Native culture. 

We provide positive companionship and emotional support.  We offer life-saving weather forecasts.


Don’t religious and educational stations generally have few listeners?

That’s why we blend our inspirational and educational material into a more traditional radio format of news and popular music. 

As a result, according to the most recent professional audience measurement survey, between 76% and 100% of adults are daily KNOM listeners, depending on the village.


SPOTTY RECORD:  Recent educational spots on KNOM included messages on:

  •  senior benefits

  • H1N1 virus prevention

  • Arctic birds (Siberian bluethroat, redpoll and whimbrel this past month)

  • mammography

  • respect

  • the impact of violence on children

  • adoption

  • seat belts

  • world geography

  • cancer

  • earth science

  • fuel efficiency

  • music genres

  • nuclear energy pros and cons

  • healthy snacks

  • Alcoholics Anonymous

  • regional history

  • emotional health

         and many, many more, thanks to you. 

Thank you for making these short, important educational broadcasts possible. 


Please consider adding KNOM to your will. 

Such legacies provide for protection of our mission against emergencies, and make possible future major improvements.


     INSPIRATIONAL SPOT:  Father James Keller, MM, founder of the Christophers, once wrote: 

     “Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst.

     “Hope opens doors where despair closes them.

     “Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot be done.

     “Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God and the basic goodness of human nature.

     “Hope regards problems, large or small, as opportunities.

     “Hope is a good loser because it has the divine assurance of final victory.”

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MONTAGE: (left) Business manager Lynette Schmidt checks figures in the upstairs office.

Behind Lynette, you can see a collection of photos of KNOM contributors and their families.

Originally from Fall River, Massachusetts, and then Bainbridge Island, Washington, Lynette was a KNOM volunteer from 1982 to 1985.

She was attracted to the KNOM mission by her older brother, Normand Berger, a Brother of Christian Instruction who was the mission’s chief engineer.  Initially, she produced spots, then served as news director for two years.  She married 1984-85 volunteer Ric Schmidt.  They left Nome, before Ric returned as program director in 1995, becoming general manager in 2005. 

Like several others on the KNOM staff, she is an amateur radio operator, with the call sign KLWC.

Today, Lynette is on the front lines of KNOM’s finances, and processes many of your contributions that keep the mission’s signal strong.

(Left) In 1982, three siblings are volunteering for KNOM.  From left, Bro. Normand Berger, FIC, Lynette Berger and Damien Berger. 


ELECTRONIC:  If you prefer receiving thank you notes for your gifts by e-mail, please contact Lynette at  Thank you!


A HAPPY OCCASION:  Following two years of volunteer service, Laura Davis is leaving KNOM, but after a brief vacation, she will be returning to Nome. 

This is the first year in memory, perhaps the first year in the mission’s history, that we are not saying goodbye to anyone on the staff.  You can imagine our joy!


46,000:  That’s how many inspirational and educational spots we’ve broadcast so far in 2009.


     INSPIRATIONAL SPOT: Love is like the five loaves and two fishes.  It doesn’t start to multiply until you give it away.

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CAREFUL: (Left)  Former general manager Tom Busch gently services one of the AM transmitter’s power modules during annual maintenance in July.

Last month, Tom was elected co-chair of the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission.


FORTY YEARS AGO: Fresh out of Boston College, Annie Legan, RN, and Jeannie Stoklosa, RN, fly to Nome to become support nurses for the mission, working at Nome’s hospital and donating their incomes to the Catholic radio project.  Their gifts are dedicated to paying for the future radio station’s tower.

(Left)  A bronze plaque on the base of KNOM's AM tower commemorates Annie's and Jeannie's gifts.


THIRTY YEARS AGO: August 1979 sees three pivotal new individuals.  From Salmon, Idaho, Timothy Cochran arrives to volunteer for three years.  He returns in 1985 to serve for ten years as chief engineer.

(Left) About 1985, Timothy works on KNOM's emergency studio generator, a relic of World War II.

Another arriving volunteer is hardworking Eric Gabster, from  Los Angeles, who also gives three volunteer years to the mission.  He is described by Fr. Louis L. Renner, SJ as “the kind of guy who shovels the steps and takes out the trash when nobody’s looking.”

Also new, from Alfred, Maine, is Br. Ray Berube, FIC (left), a Brother of Christian Instruction.  Though his arthritis is aggravated by cold weather, Br. Ray endures eleven tough years as the mission’s building maintenance chief.


TWENTY YEARS AGO:  August 8, 1989, following a visit to Nome, where he stays with the KNOM volunteers, Our Sunday Visitor editor Fr. Owen Campion writes of the KNOM mission in his weekly column “it is a treasure of Catholic evangelization in the United States.”

Eleven days later, from Odenton, Maryland, Ross Tozzi is among the new Jesuit Volunteer crew.  Ross volunteers for three years, the last two as a support volunteer, his wages providing a significant portion of the funds needed to construct the new volunteer dormitory in 1992.

Next month, watch for a new photo of now Father Ross, new pastor for Nome's St. Joseph parish.


TEN YEARS AGO:  In August 1999, KNOM reports that the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Notice to Airmen warning of reindeer on the Nome runway.  On the 13th, a grizzly bear cub is sighted at 3rd and Division Streets, two blocks from the KNOM studio, the first time anyone can remember a brown bear in downtown Nome.


NEW ARRIVAL:  (Left)  A hardy tundra flower blooms July 15th a foot from the KNOM AM tower.


We repeat our longstanding pledge to you that we will never give your name and address to anyone, for any reason. 

You are our strength.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  May Our Heavenly Father bless you abundantly!

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