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Collateral Duties

A whiteboard hanging on the on-air studio door serves as the sign-up for weekly cleaning duties at the station.

This weekend, KNOM is inviting community members to the station to help with some spring cleaning.

Projects for this “Service Saturday” range from painting, to sorting the vinyl collection, and trimming back the willows from our FM tower (I jumped on the last one: now that the weather’s turned, I’ll take any excuse I can get to be outside).

Since my whole time at KNOM is a year of service, it doesn’t seem too strange to me that some of the tasks I’ve taken on “as needed” fall pretty far outside the lines of what you might imagine a radio reporter and producer would be doing day-to-day.

A short list of other collateral duties I’ve performed at KNOM:

  • Weekly cleaning: After our staff meeting each Thursday, everyone here in the station picks a cleaning duty. We seem to have our favorites (Gabe is the resident vacuum enthusiast), but it doesn’t matter who does what as long as it all gets done. “Stewardship” is a word I’d primarily thought of in an environmental context before this year, but it’s an important concept at KNOM. That feels especially true within the volunteer program, where each year the outgoing volunteers welcome in the newbies and hope they’ve left things a little bit better than when they started.
  • Looking for crowberries in Shishmaref: For my first episode of “Story49,” I traveled to the island village of Shishmaref, where I tagged along with scientists and young students who were just beginning a project that used berries to study the impacts of climate change. Not far from the school, we searched for the small, black crowberries, and each student selected, named, and tagged their plants to watch throughout the year.
  • Snow shoveling: A near-constant job in Nome in the winter, or at least this winter: I heard again and again that this was an especially snowy year. I’d never seen the gigantic plastic snow shovels that are ubiquitous here, but wherever I settle in the future, if it’s even a bit snowy, I’m going to try to find one.
  • Race timing: While in the Northwest Arctic Borough village of Ambler to cover the Kobuk 440 sled dog race, I was tapped to pull up the world atomic clock in order to record the precise second when front runner Nicolas Petit pulled into the checkpoint.

No two days are the same at KNOM, which is something I love and will seek out in future endeavors. I have just over a month left here, and I’m excited to see what else I get into before then.

Image at top: It’s all-hands-on-deck to keep the station neat and tidy. Photo: Zoe Grueskin, KNOM.

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