Happy New Year! Here’s a look back at some of the highlights of 2014 in Western Alaska and our mission.
In the Static, engineer Rolland Trowbridge explains the need for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) batteries at KNOM. Because of the unstable energy grid in rural Alaska, the batteries get heavy use; he’s pictured with our battery usage for 2013 alone. This will change, he writes, with the installation of a single, all-station UPS, which should become active in 2015.
Volunteer Tara Cicatello is now a few weeks into her new, weekly country show, AK Country (Wednesdays, 2-4pm), which quickly becomes a favorite among KNOM’s listeners. “Especially during the colder months,” we write in the Static, “even just a few (country) songs… can make a big difference.” As of 2015, Tara, now a KNOM alumna, still hosts the show.
It’s the 42nd running of The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Alaska’s 1,000-mile race to Nome. KNOM broadens its race coverage this year, as photographer David Dodman joins reporter Laureli Ivanoff on the trail; their from-the-checkpoint dispatches (audio, photos, stories) supplement KNOM’s on-air reporting back at our Nome studios. (It’s still available online.)
It’s a bittersweet changing of the guard this month, as news director Laureli Ivanoff steps down from her KNOM role to serve rural Alaska in a new way: with regional nonprofit Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC). A few weeks later, we’re thrilled to welcome KNOM volunteer alumnus Matthew Smith to the news director job.
This month, our region prepares for the departure of a religious order with deep roots in rural Alaska: the Little Sisters of Jesus, long a mainstay at Nome’s St. Joseph Catholic Church. A very popular KNOM Profile (long-form news story) traces the long history of Alaska’s Little Sisters, and a farewell Mass gives Nome a chance to say goodbye.
The Static focuses, in part, on our digital studios renovation and expansion project this month. By now, dedicated funds have approached two-thirds (as of June, more than $600,000) of our $1 million goal, and paint — sprayed with care by Nome carpenter David Booth, pictured — is going onto the walls of our soon-to-be studio spaces.
Our newsletter shines the spotlight on a popular, weekly segment on KNOM’s Morning Show: Breakfast Wednesday, a chance for hosts Tara Cicatello and Dayneé Rosales (foreground) to talk nutrition and creative breakfast recipes with representatives from Nome’s local, healthly-living-focused nonprofit, the CAMP Department (behind the second mic).
Volunteer travel is a highlight this month. In the Static, we report on Dayneé Rosales’ trip to Barrow — the northernmost city in the US — where she witnesses the Nalukataq whaling festival. Meanwhile, Zachariah Hughes is part of a special press detachment in Point Hope, where he meets whaler Steve Oomittuk (wearing a mask of Tulaqniqraq, the Raven Man).
The Static focuses on the difficult craft of news reporting and the need for journalism handled with care in rural Alaska. Volunteer reporter Jenn Ruckel reflects that experiencing the lifestyles of our region offers the “huge blessing” of being “welcomed into the story”: such as her experience reporting on Bering Sea crabbing by actually boarding a crabbing vessel.
Matthew Smith is in Anchorage covering the Alaska Federation of Natives convention, an annual gathering that unites and prompts discussion across the state. Meanwhile, a KNOM Profile reports on a new class (taught by Nome’s Marjorie Tahbone, pictured) bringing Iñupiaq, an Alaska Native language, to high schoolers. Both the class and the Profile are a hit.
After her final Fist-Pound Show several months prior and her departure from Western Alaska to the Lower 48, the front page of the Static bids a grateful farewell this month to longtime volunteer deejay (and advocate for disability awareness) Tuesona Tungwenuk. On Election Day, rural Alaskans go the polls, and KNOM covers the vote, on-air and online.
With the arrival of Advent, KNOM lights the star atop its FM transmitter tower in downtown Nome. KNOM’s Christmas star and our annual Christmas Call-In Show (December 19) are the themes of our end-of-year email campaign. In print, on air, and on-line, KNOM’s staff (pictured) wishes its listeners — and you! — a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.