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A New Studio — and a New Chapter — for KNOM

KNOM staff and friends at the dedication of the Tom and Florence Busch Digital Studios
From left to right: Lynette Schmidt; Annie Blandford; Lauren Frost; Karen Trop (seated); Tyler Stup; Florence Busch (seated); Margaret DeMaioribus; Davis Hovey (seated); Ric Schmidt; Betsy Brennan.

Friends, volunteers, staff, and board members of KNOM Radio Mission gathered in Nome on October 1st, as pictured above, for the dedication of the new Tom and Florence Busch Digital Studios. Praise God! It’s a vision that took more than five years, and it’s the latest step in a journey fueled by your kind generosity, prayer, and support.

KNOM’s new studios were the dream of mission founder, friend, and longtime general manager Tom Busch. Tom, before his passing six years ago this month, recognized that the aging, analog technology of the existing studios was a problem. The functional but rugged set-up was increasingly inefficient and difficult to repair and maintain. Computer-based technologies had become the norm in broadcasting, making the KNOM configuration obsolete. When added to the challenges of operating in a remote corner of Alaska, far from parts suppliers and engineers who can fix broken equipment, the station faced the prospect of eventual, widespread failure.

Tom Busch at transmitter tower
Tom Busch gazes upwards at our transmitter tower in KNOM’s early days.

In 2011, inspired by Tom’s vision for the station’s future, the focus thus turned to ensuring the mission could endure for decades to come. In the months and years that followed, plans were developed to modernize and expand, to build a more energy efficient studio space. The new facility would be easier to operate and maintain, more capable, and remotely diagnosable. The new studios would honor the legacy of broadcasting and service forged by Tom and his wife, Florence (who also served many years at KNOM).

In the years to follow, your steadfast financing was pivotal to transforming blueprints into walls, a roof, soundproofing, and rooms filled with digital equipment. The construction proved difficult, owing to the challenges of a remote location, rural Alaska’s shortage of skilled labor, and many months of sub-Arctic cold and darkness.

The project spun into high-gear this summer, with the final work of installing equipment and renovating the existing studios. On October 1st, KNOM officially unveiled the studios to the listening community. General Manager Ric Schmidt hosted tours of the new spaces; alumnus and board member Father Ross Tozzi celebrated Mass; and all present remembered the delight Tom Busch took in KNOM’s radio mission. (We encourage you to watch the video below for a glimpse of our new studio spaces and their dedication ceremony!)

Together, we have helped ensure that a radio station in rural Alaska could survive and fluorish, despite great difficulty. There will be many more action-packed chapters to read in the KNOM biography.

Video: Blessing the Tom and Florence Busch Digital Studios

Image Gallery: Our Studio Dedication

Click or tap on any image to expand the photo viewer.

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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.