As 2017 begins, both KNOM listeners and Static readers meet Miss Alaska, Rosemary Berg, who hails from the village of Point Hope (population 700). Her inspiring story of persevering through sexual assault and depression is the subject of a Story49 episode. “Just know that you are not alone… and that you are loved,” she tells listeners.
“I want to… influence everyone I meet in a positive way. I am interested in sharing my culture and its… respect for everyone.” Those are the goals of community deejay Niviaaluk Brandt, featured in the February issue. Nivi’s popular weekly show Alianait Radio is a source of joy, cultural connection, and inspiration for listeners, especially during the cold, dark winter.
The Iditarod begins in Fairbanks because poor snow cover prevents the usual Anchorage start. Musher Mitch Seavey wins in Nome. Reporters Zachariah Hughes and Ben Matheson, both KNOM volunteer alumni, send trail dispatches to KNOM listeners. In Natchitoches, Louisiana, middle school students follow the sled dog race through KNOM stories.
Nome priest Father Tom Kuffel spends the Easter Triduum in the Arctic city of Kotzebue; it’s one of the four parishes to which he ministers. KNOM listeners hear the voice of Father Tom Lankenau during the live broadcast of Easter Sunday Mass from St. Joseph Catholic Church, a block from KNOM studios.
Father Kuffel is on a ministry trip again, this time to isolated Diomede, an island village and KNOM listening community nestled along a cliff face overlooking the International Date Line. Back in Nome, KNOM provides live coverage of the local, solemn Memorial Day parade, which culminates in remembrance ceremonies at Nome’s cemetery.
A new series of KNOM spots, created through a partnership with the Nome hospital, conveys the stories of Western Alaskans who’ve recovered from drug addiction, alcoholism, and other issues. The message that a better life is within reach means so much. One interviewee tells listeners: “I’ve been sober for 15 years. Let me tell you: it’s a different life to be sober.”
In the village of Kiana, youth group OPT In is encouraging peers to be mindful about how their actions impact others. “Every action counts and creates a ripple effect; choose wisely,” states the theme of OPT In’s 2017 youth conference, featured in Story49. Back in Nome, Margaret DeMaioribus becomes general manager after Ric Schmidt’s retirement in June.
Nome student Jonathan Outwater’s visit to KNOM, sparked by a special interest in broadcasting, is front-page news in the Static. For several days, Jonathan “shadows” volunteer Karen Trop, who’s made working with local youth a priority of her service. “If his time spent shadowing me inspired him even a little bit… I will be the one who feels blessed,” she says.
KNOM listeners delve into local Cold War history through a special Story49 series focused on Alaska and easternmost Russia. The “Ice Curtain” long separated families and friends sharing a common language and culture. In 2017, reunions continue to happen on both sides of the border with the former USSR; some are 40 or 50 years in the making.
“I don’t think of myself as a leader — I just think of myself as a sophomore,” says Jacob Brouillette. But the humble high school student in Elim, Alaska, is indeed a leader, as KNOM listeners discover in Caught Doing Something Good. The show highlights Jacob’s work speaking up for healthy lifestyles, efforts to prevent suicide, and volunteering as a peer counselor.
65 miles north of Nome, a farm at Pilgrim Hot Springs is reaping the fruits (and vegetables) of its first harvest. Residents of Nome and environs have been enthusiastic for locally-grown spinach and onions, an episode of Dearest Alaska recounts to listeners. Vegetables like kale and arugula were relatively unknown to some locals before the Pilgrim crops hit shelves.
Just in time for winter, KNOM has begun broadcasting information on sea ice cover as part of hourly weather forecasts. With the departure of Fr. Tom Kuffel, a visiting priest ministers at St. Joseph Catholic Church. The station broadcasts Christmas Mass to thousands of listeners.