780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

History

October ’71: The loss of Br. Huck

October 8, 1971 Traveling by small boat from the village of Pilot Station to St. Mary’s, 33-year-old Br. John Huck, SJ, and three others drown when their boat capsizes near the confluence of the Yukon and Andreafsky Rivers. Huck, who directed construction on the studio building, had become a great friend to the KNOM crew,…

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October ’92: A superlative fall storm

October 5, 1992 The worst storm in eighteen years strikes Nome as a low-pressure center swells up a storm surge eight feet above normal with ten-foot waves above that. Covered with flotsam and jetsam, Front Street – Nome’s main thoroughfare – is underwater, and where it runs along the beach, half of it is gone.…

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September ’70: Preparing the transmitter tower site

September 24, 1970 Volunteers John Pfeifer and Tom Busch continue to pound sizzling chisels into the permafrost for explosives expert Sam Tucker to pack with dynamite. They shovel and bucket out debris 11 to 12 hours a day, taking only 10 minutes for lunch and dinner; the meals are delivered to them seven days a…

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September ’05: A “once in a hundred years” storm, again

September 22, 2005 For the second year in a row, Nome is hit by a “once in a hundred years” storm. The town loses power, and KNOM’s transmitter site generator keeps the station on the air for 134 hours until electricity is restored. General manager Ric Schmidt, on the East Coast to accept a Gabriel…

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September ’01: Broadcasting on 9/11

September 11, 2001 Starting at 6 AM, KNOM airs 68 hours of live continuous news coverage on the terrible incidents of today, interrupted only three times: for weather, important messages, and the Rosary.

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September ’72: Construction

September 4, 1972 They’re completed. Fred Dyen and fellow volunteers Les Brown and Chris Brockway have constructed a prefabricated garage and building for the transmitter site generator. Dyen’s friend Jerry Springer had flown up from Spokane to install the generators and transfer switches, and by this week, both studio and transmitter are protected against power outages.

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August ’09: “Come back soon!”

August 23, 2009 The transmitter fails this morning, just as the automated remote control commands the increase to daytime power. KNOM general manager Ric Schmidt coaxes it to operate at very low power: about 2,000 watts. The reason for the problem was a lightning strike that severed the jumper cable 100 feet above ground. Due to high…

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August ’93: Meet Tom Bunger

August 15, 1993 From Tacoma, Washington, Tom Bunger is among KNOM’s six volunteers, all new. He’s assigned as news reporter, working under the supervision of news director Katy Clark. In 1994, Tom is hired as a salaried news director, a position he holds for three years before leaving the station for a career in the…

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