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13 Years Later, Still a Bright Idea

In 2003, Les Brown helps guide the replacement beacon on its 233-foot ascent to the top of the AM tower.
In 2003, Les Brown helps guide the replacement beacon on its 233-foot ascent to the top of the AM tower.

When the current beacon atop KNOM’s 233-foot AM transmitter tower was installed in 2003, LED technology was fairly new — but it held great promise.

The estimated 93% savings for electricity and the expected longevity for the bulbs were far too attractive to pass up (the old-style tower bulbs required annual replacement). The investment to install the LEDs was a whopping $22,480, but the return on investment was 5 years in electricity savings. A tower crew, with the assistance of KNOM’s former engineer, Les Brown, secured the new beacon in place.

At today’s rates, KNOM’s LED beacon has now saved $54,940 in electricity plus roughly $39,000 in labor charges from not having to replace the bulbs each year. What’s more, since the beacon is made up of many diodes instead of one bulb, it emits more light, too.

As always, it’s among KNOM’s top priorities to stretch your dollars as best we can.

The KNOM AM transmitter tower in an open, snow-covered field.
The AM transmitter site, several miles outside Nome. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.

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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.