I have been amazed at the responsibility we are entrusted with at the station. Performing both live and recorded broadcasts of news and weather, deejaying an array of music to a very diverse group of listeners, and effectively giving a professional radio presence even though we are far from professional. That takes a whole lot of trust. Trust in a handful of twenty-somethings from various backgrounds from various parts of the world, with various prior experiences and various personalities. But we make it work. And work we do.
We are all still so new to our jobs, yet this week due to various circumstances, us volunteers were literally put in charge of the station. At the beginning of the week, we all looked at each other thinking relatively the same thing- can we do this? But the question was not so much of whether or not we could, but how we were going to do so. We did not have time to really ponder the “can we’s” and “what if’s.” We’d been trained in our various departments, and had to be prepared for the challenges that await us.
Each of us has been in Nome anywhere from five to nine weeks . Though we’ve all come a long way from our very first words on the air, it does not by any means make us experienced radio folk. We have learned a plethora of information, and that information grows day by day.
The trust in us parallels, I believe, that of Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy in the 2004 comedy, Anchorman. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, Ron Burgundy is the main anchor in a local San Diego news station. He is entrusted to be the voice and face of the news station, counted on to accurately and efficiently present the news, weather, and anything else of entertainment or importance, as are we. There is one scene I specifically think of that scares me to bits- the scene where Burgundy unknowingly says something awful to the public, which causes a bad name for Burgundy and all-around disgust in the station.
This is the kind of power we have- the power to say things in real time to a large portion of the population of Western Alaska. And it terrifies me. Or at least, it used to.
Time and practice have made it easier for me to speak on the air, both in real and recorded time. Besides the novelty of it wearing off, I have come to understand a very important piece of information: this is not about me. This is not about me playing Ron Burgundy giving news and weather broadcasts. This is not about me playing deejay and hearing my own voice over the air. Everything is in reflection of them, of those we are broadcasting to. We do not read the weather and news to hear our own voices. We do it to bring this information to those places, both close-by and remote, that otherwise might not know this information; this information that could be vital to their survival. We play music and deejay not to enjoy our own music or hear our own voices. We do it to bring enjoyment and entertainment to those who might not have a bright spot in their day, other than listening to ours hour on the air.
We broadcast and perform with pride and importance because we are proud and important, but not for our sake. We are important for the sake of those we serve in Western Alaska. That is what is entrusted to us. And though I may still occasionally get nervous about being “live” and “on air,” it’s not about me. It’s about them.
We’re KNOM, YOURS for Western Alaska.