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Cramming for the races

We’ve been talking about race season a lot already, and in some ways it’s really only just begun.

The KNOM volunteers are learning the ins and outs of what it takes to cover races, getting the facts to our listeners in the best way possible. They’ve mastered the on-air update through this week, sinking their teeth into the Iron Dog Snow Machine race.

KNOM's Laureli Kinneen with Mike Morgan

Volunteer News Reporter Zach grabbed some great pictures of Laureli chatting with the race leaders at their pause in Nome, the half-way point for the Iron Dog.

Race map

Each race gets a fresh hand-drawn map on the Studio A window detailing the race checkpoints, distances between, and major rules for announcers to refer to throughout their update.

Each day our Iron Dog (and soon Iditarod) updates go on the air at 9am, 12 noon, and 5pm. Volunteers are assigned a particular time and a particular duty as lead updater or second mic. Through ample training and little learning on the ground, the volunteers have become more comfortable stretching their legs as sports reporters on the air. They sound great! And they’ll be ready to go for the longer, slower-paced Iditarod, which starts officially in Willow, on March 2nd.

Iron Dog update

Zach and Tara have rocked the 9am time slot every day this week delivering top race headlines and a quick rundown of the racers’ positions on the trail.

For two solid weeks, Iditarod captures the attention of so many in Western Alaska, in the state as a whole, and around the world. KNOM covers the race from start to finish with coverage provided by News Director Laureli Kinneen who will be joined on the trail this year by Web Director David Dodman. In Nome, KNOM staff and volunteers deliver updates on the air.

Coverage continues throughout the race to the finish in Nome, where KNOM staff work around the clock to highlight the top 20 mushers crossing the finish line, broadcasting the end of their 1,000 mile journey. It’s a task we take seriously.

KNOM staff do their best to make sure first year volunteers feel comfortable with their expected responsibilities, so they can slide right into the mix of what we do. Program Director Kelly carefully plans each staff member’s time and helps to train volunteers on their duties for our 24-hour coverage.

Kelly lends a hand

Kelly goes over how to “spot”: track the mushers into town in the KNOM vehicle, reporting live on-air as they approach the finish.

Volunteers in the Programming Department have already been immersing themselves in Iditarod facts and lore, learning what they can in order to craft interesting, educational, inspirational spots to air during our two week coverage of the event. It’s important they sound like they know what they’re talking about, and so they’re working hard to do just that. Tara’s had stacks of Iditarod resources on her desk for the past several weeks. She even made a special trip to the City Library in Nome to see what resources they had to offer.

Tara & Emily

Tara and Emily (in matching Iron Dog shirts), study up on Iditarod facts and stories. Yes, they really bought matching shirts and wore them on the same day, and yes, they have really been reading these books (despite the cleverly staged photo).

The air at KNOM is already buzzing with excitement as the end of Iron Dog approaches tomorrow and Iditarod starts next weekend. It’s going to be a fast couple of weeks full of dogs, mushers, sleds, checkpoints, trail conditions, weather, and excitement. Find it all here at knom.org.