96.1 FM | 780 AM | Yours for Western Alaska

Our History: an Overview

Old KNOM building

The original KNOM station building, circa 1980s.

KNOM is the oldest Catholic radio station in the United States; we’re honored to have been a presence in Western Alaska for more than four decades.

Our continuing mission has been possible only through the hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and love of thousands of people: our staff and volunteers, the members of our community, and the thousands of donors who have kept the lights on and the transmitters running.

Bishop Whelan pushes the "on" button

Bishop Robert Whelan, SJ pushes the “on” button for KNOM’s very first program.

KNOM has been broadcasting to Western Alaska since July 14th, 1971, when the station aired its very first program. The development of KNOM – both preceding and following our first broadcast – has been filled with colorful stories, exceptional challenges, and an incredible tradition of support and cooperation. Our volunteers have made do with blinding snowstorms, mountains of red tape, and sometimes-imperfect equipment, and amid it all, they’ve helped to broadcast events from bathtub races to sled-dog races, from political conventions to volcanic eruptions.

Throughout, we’ve been thrilled – with your help – to stay on the air. As you’ll frequently hear in birthday greetings on our hotlines program, we hope to remain Yours for Western Alaska for “many more years to come.”

Learn more: explore the highlights of the KNOM timeline.