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Digital Studios: Operational!

In our now-operational digital studios, a special "Thank You" from 2016-2017 KNOM volunteers Tyler, Lauren, Karen, and Davis. Photo: Margaret DeMaioribus, KNOM.

It’s been a tale of two studios at KNOM in recent weeks. Thanks to you, the Tom & Florence Busch Digital Studios are now operational; the grand opening of our studio annex will follow on October 1 (which we’ll detail in future issues of the Static). As the new studios’ dedication nears, our existing broadcast spaces are getting a face lift.

In the studios in which KNOM has broadcast for 30 years, August was a month of cleaning and renovation. With our essential broadcasting activities transitioning to the new, digital studios, it was time to restore the “old” studios with fresh coats of paint and new flooring. In this work, KNOM was blessed to have a helping hand with a familiar name. Jacob Schmidt, the brother of general manager Ric Schmidt, spent more than a week with us, helping to spackle and paint our walls. (The new hue is a cheerful, soft yellow, which will help keep spirits high during dark winter months.) Jake also, as pictured below, helped lay new carpet tiles, replacing the flooring made thread-bare from decades of use.

Meanwhile, in the new studios, another friendly, helping hand was back at work. Expert Anchorage engineer Van Craft has been a frequent and welcome presence at KNOM this summer, as the “heavy lifting” (both literal and figurative) has been happening with our digital studios construction. In August, Van helped us with necessary shakedown work: tying up loose ends and double-checking the many moving parts of our brand-new broadcast system. Van helped us make our digital studios fully operational.

We’re so excited to report that KNOM is now using its new studios almost exclusively for daily broadcast operations. The complexity of the new system made the transition from old to new an immense amount of work, but we know that our new studio spaces, alongside our renovated studios, will help us best serve rural Alaska for many decades to come.

Margaret DeMaioribus and Ric Schmidt, on air in the new studios’ main broadcast room. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.

Margaret DeMaioribus and Ric Schmidt, on air in the new studios’ main broadcast room. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.

Our new studios not only allow us to produce an even better product for the region we serve, but they also allow us to continue that service with better efficiencies of time and money. The digital equipment, while modern and more advanced in nearly all respects compared with the analog gear it’s replacing, will be far simpler to repair, which is crucially important for an operation as remote and isolated as KNOM’s. That will make problems, when they occur, easier to debug, even from thousands of miles away.

A close look at the sound board and computer in our new studios' main broadcast room. Photo: Ric Schmidt, KNOM.

A close look at the sound board and computer in our new studios’ main broadcast room. Photo: Ric Schmidt, KNOM.

We’ve taken steps to stretch your donations as much as possible throughout our studios’ construction, too. By using donated pilings, paint, and flooring labor; by negotiating competitive prices for building materials; by installing our own LED lights; by repurposing furniture; by hosting and feeding visiting contractors in staff homes (rather than in hotels and restaurants); and by flying up contractors with donated air miles, rather than cash; we saved more than $70,000 in our studios’ construction. As always, we do all we can to be the best stewards of your generosity.

For all these reasons and many more, thanks so much for making our new studios a reality. We thank God for your generosity, support, and prayers throughout this project. The fruits of your kindness will make a real difference in a very special part of the world. Thank you.

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Christmas 2023

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Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.

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