Today at KNOM I helped replace a banner in front of the station. After celebrating KNOM’s 40th anniversary last year, the banner announcing the 40 years was getting a little out of date, what with year 41 just a few days away. As I took the old banner down and helped raise the new one in its place, I was reminded that my time at KNOM is also coming to an end, and that a new batch of volunteers is on the way. This is how things go in Nome in general, and at KNOM in particular. With that change, it goes without saying that no two years are the same.
Case in point: the other day I had a chance encounter with a former KNOM volunteer from over ten years ago, Michael Warren. (He wrote a wonderful letter for Tom Busch’s Memorial). Now, I work with former KNOM volunteers everyday, volunteers who have moved on to staff positions at the station and who have made their lives in Nome. But Michael finished his time at KNOM and moved to Pennsylvania, to pursue a career in teaching. That career brought him and his family to Anchorage, and he’s since moved on from teaching and taken a position as a pastor. He was in Nome with his dad for a little gold-mining vacation.
I met Michael at KNOM’s volunteer house—the very house he lived in over a decade prior—and I could see the emotion and powerful memories in his eyes as we toured the house. He was filled with stories of “his” KNOM: stories about his work in Public Affairs (the position I currently hold); the great-and-reliably-long-winded stories of “his” general manager Tom Busch; the playful antagonism of “his” news director Paul Korchin and then-resident engineer Les Brown. And his stories were full of names and faces that made up “his” years in Nome.
Michael’s stories, like that banner, get renewed every year. My years in Nome are my own, and the stories I will tell will have their own unique cast of characters, at the station and in Nome at large. Maybe I’ll be back at the KNOM house a decade hence, and tell stories of “my” news director, “my” general manager, “my” room mates and “my” KNOM.
It took a little doing, but we got the banner up. It’ll be a great “front door” to the station, and help make the digital studio a reality. But it, too, in time, will be replaced. And another KNOM volunteer, with stories of “their” KNOM and “their” Nome, will be there to put up a new one.