“We’ve Only Just Begun” was the first song played during the first official broadcast of KNOM Radio on July 14, 1971. 45 years later, it’s a good summary of the mindset at our mission, thanks to your continued support. With the company of visiting staffers and board members, we celebrated our 45th anniversary last month in a simple but poignant way — while, at the same time, continuing to work towards our intended autumn launch timeline for our brand-new, digital studio spaces.
First, an update on our studios. In mid-July, our studio annex was busy with microphone and sound equipment installations and careful computer set-up work, shepherded through the expert hands of broadcast software expert John Kelsey, who’s been a kind, helping hand for our mission for many years, and KNOM’s invaluable, Anchorage-based engineer Van Craft. They came to Nome to oversee the installation of our new radio broadcast system, which will be used both in our brand-new studios and in our soon-to-be-renovated, existing studio building. Van (pictured at top) helped install new microphones and other hardware pieces, while John oversaw the conversion, from the old system to the new, of the tens of thousands of audio files upon which our radio station depends. He also made sure KNOM staff and volunteers were amply trained on the updated broadcasting software now at their fingertips.
On the day of our 45th anniversary, itself, KNOM’s on-air staff marked the day in numerous ways. David Dodman hosted a music show on #1 chart hits from 1971, while newly-arrived volunteer Karen Trop took song requests on the theme of “celebration.” Ric Schmidt played a compilation of clips from the early years of KNOM, particularly those featuring KNOM founder and longtime general manager Tom Busch; then, at exactly 4:30pm — the precise moment KNOM’s first broadcast began on July 14, 1971 — he played a crystal-clear version of “We’ve Only Just Begun” directly from our brand-new digital studios. It was the first moment the new studios were used for broadcast — and the sound quality was remarkably better.
Also in town for our 45th anniversary were a number of KNOM board members, including current president (and former news director) Dr. Paul Korchin and former Nome parish priest and KNOM volunteer alumnus Father Ross Tozzi. Fr. Ross joined current Nome parish priest Father Tom Kuffel in celebrating Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church on July 14th. The Mass marked not only the 45th anniversary of KNOM’s first broadcast day but also the 15th anniversary of Father Ross’ ordination to the priesthood; Fr. Ross had chosen July 14, 2001, to be ordained in Nome because it was KNOM’s 30th anniversary.
We’re honored and so grateful to be sharing this 45th anniversary with you. We can’t thank you enough for all the amazing things you continue to make possible in rural Alaska.
Photos (left to right, top to bottom; click or tap on any image to enlarge): in the newsroom of our new digital studios, Van Craft installs microphones (first two images); John Kelsey helps fire “We’ve Only Just Begun” at exactly 4:30pm on July 14; the beginning of Mass on July 14, celebrating KNOM’s 45th anniversary and Fr. Ross’ 15th anniversary; during Mass, Lynette Schmidt offers a reading; Fr. Ross proclaims the Gospel; Fr. Ross and Fr. Tom at the altar; Paul Korchin and Fr. Ross prepare to blow out specially-numbered “45” and “15” candles atop chocolate cupcakes, corresponding to KNOM’s 45th anniversary and Fr. Ross’ 15th anniversary.