Photo: Tom Busch climbing the tower, prior to OSHA's workplace safety regulations.
Whether you've been with us since the beginning, or you're just getting to know us: it's you, and your faithful support, that has made KNOM America's oldest Catholic radio station. Thank you!
Bishop Robert Whelan, SJ, pushes the "on" button for KNOM's very first program.
KNOM has been broadcasting in Western Alaska since July 14th, 1971, when the station could first be heard in Western Alaska.
The continuing mission has been possible only by the hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and love of thousands of people: our staff and volunteers, listeners and community members, and thousands of loyal benefactors across the nation who keep the lights on and the transmitters running. KNOM stands on their shoulders.
For the first three decades, much of KNOM's income came from registered nurses and doctors at the Nome hospital. They lived as volunteers and donated their income to the radio mission. Here, two nurses - Candy Gleason (with the microphone) and Meg Gabriel - use a shortwave radio to give medical advice to a Western Alaskan village. Photo from the 1970s.
Elder Tim Gologergen and volunteer Sean Brennan co-host Radio Bridge to Siberia, a program with stories of interest to those living on both sides of the Bering Strait, whether in the United States or Russia. The show aired in both English and Siberian Yup'ik. Photo taken in the late 1980s.
Happy Sweet Birthday to You
Since the 1970s, listeners across Western Alaska have called in for daily "Village Hotlines". Mary J. “MJ” Hartman, a 1988-89 volunteer, wrote KNOM's birthday song regularly played during “Village Hotlines.”
Here is the song:
Some Moments from the past...
Below, take a listen to some fond audio memories from the first decade of KNOM.
From the first day of broadcast; July 14, 1971: a special blessing from Pope Paul VI to KNOM.
Governor William Egan greets KNOM listeners and welcomes the station to the Alaska airwaves.
Alex Hills and Harry Gallagher describe what KNOM's news coverage will contain.
A shout-out to all those who originally helped KNOM get on the airwaves.
Tom Busch tells the story of the Broken Down Radio Announcer, including a confession of the announcer's true identity.
Tom Busch tells the untold story behind the Monday morning Animals in the News segment.
Come Visit the Station
Yet, we've only just begun....
Fifty years into KNOM's history, the radio station is deeply embedded in Western Alaska. As we look to the future, KNOM's vision is to one day be 'taken over' by the region - existing entirely for, and by, Western Alaskans. As the very first song ever played on KNOM - "We've Only Just Begun", by The Carpenters - proclaims, the mission is just getting started.
KNOM continues to live out its values each day - as it has for five decades - as a friend and companion offering respectful service based on Catholic ideals. It is centered on the four cornerstones of the mission: Encountering Christ, Embracing Culture, Empowering Growth, and Engaging the Listener.
KNOM continues in sharing God's love for Western Alaska through embracing its strength and beauty and being invested, long-term, in the growth of the region.
By engaging each listener with respect and companionship, KNOM hopes to amplify stories of hope, courage, and resiliency in Western Alaska.