KNOM Radio Mission, 2016: Twelve Snapshots
We invite you to take a look back, month by month, at what the past year brought the KNOM Radio Mission.
Dearest Alaska takes listeners to a rehearsal of the Nome/St. Lawrence Island Dancers, an ensemble that helps keep alive the traditions of Alaska Native drumming and dancing. “It makes me happy that I know part of my culture,” says dancer Phyllis Walluk. “I’m carrying on my culture.” Each month, the show features audio snapshots of life in Western Alaska.
KNOM’s AM transmitter (pictured) begins the month offline after a very rare failure. “One kind telephone caller,” the Static later describes, “shared that his 100-year-old grandmother was looking forward to hearing our radio signal restored, so that she could pray the nightly Rosary.” Anchorage engineer Van Craft, also pictured, helps us quickly get back online.
KNOM covers the Nome-Golovin Snowmachine (Snowmobile) Race, as well as the epic, 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The two races capture the excitement of thousands of listeners — and represent both modern and traditional sides of rural Alaskan culture.
Easter Sunday marks the availability of KNOM’s nightly Rosary prayers on its website for the first time. Recordings of the joyful, sorrowful, glorious, and luminous mysteries of the Rosary can be downloaded from this website (knom.org). The recordings, which have been a staple of KNOM’s evening programming for decades, are now available via the internet, anytime.
KNOM brings the Cama-i (chuh-MY) Dance Festival, an annual celebration of Alaska Native culture, to listeners. Themes of unity, strength, resilience, and respect for elders are at the heart of the celebration. “It’s pretty cool to walk in the footsteps of an ancestor,” one performer tells KNOM. Alaska Native drumming is “our common humanity,” another says.
Happy news: the community of Savoonga (suh-VOON-guh) has caught a whale, their second of the year! Online (knom.org), the faithful can now pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, in addition to the Rosary. The chaplet features the voices of Fr. Ross Tozzi and the Little Sisters of Jesus, who spent more than a half century in Nome and on Little Diomede island.
On July 14, its 45th anniversary, KNOM broadcasts for the first time from the Tom and Florence Busch Digital Studios, which is nearing completion. The day is also the 15th anniversary of Fr. Ross Tozzi’s ordination. After a special, celebratory Mass, Dr. Paul Korchin, board president, and Fr. Ross, bishop’s board representative, enjoy anniversary cupcakes.
The volunteer class of 2016-2017 gather for a retreat to spiritually and mentally prepare for their first Arctic winter. Staffers Margaret and Robyn facilitate the process at a remote cabin generously offered by supporters. North of the Arctic Circle, Margaret visits Kotzebue’s St. Xavier Catholic Church with former Nome pastor Father Vince Burns.
As our engineers and contractors continue their work on the digital studios, which are already being used for broadcasts, KNOM volunteers and staff help with renovations in our 1990s-era studio building. Through a series of cost-saving measures (such as donated time with the installation of carpeting) the mission saves $70,000 on the renovation efforts.
On October 1, KNOM officially dedicates the Tom and Florence Busch Digital Studios. On hand are a large family of supporters, listeners, and staff — including guest of honor Florence Busch, pictured with board member Kevin Fimon. Father Ross Tozzi celebrates Mass in KNOM’s lobby after offering a special blessing for the now-complete studios.
KNOM’s studio rooms, old and new, get final polishes and needed upgrades this month. Engineer Van Craft (pictured left) and technician Joe Mauk (right) install a telephone system that interfaces with the digital audio system. This allows staffers, especially KNOM’s news reporters, to conduct and record interviews in premium audio quality.
The KNOM Christmas star shines through the night from high atop the FM tower in downtown Nome. On Christmas Day, live Catholic Mass beams to thousands of listeners. Thank you for bringing worship, inspiration, news, and education to Western Alaska.
Enjoyed the years walk through for 2016. Thank you very much.
Thanks very much, Richard! Happy New Year.