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Charred metallic pieces on an outdoor power meter
The charred remains of the power panel outside KNOM’s AM transmitter building. Photos: Ric Schmidt, KNOM.

On December 12, General Manager Ric Schmidt visited the KNOM AM transmitter site to investigate why the back-up generator had switched on.

The site is about 4 miles from the KNOM radio station in Nome. The city’s power is isolated and frequently prone to outages or other operational problems, so the unexplained switch to the generator at the AM site wasn’t too surprising. As soon as linemen restored power to the transmitter… BOOM! As Ric describes:

“I heard a loud bang and ran out the door to see part of the outside power panel engulfed in flames. I grabbed the extinguisher from inside the building and put out the fire… Had I not been at the AM transmitter site when the electricity was turned on, the KNOM AM transmitter building would have caught on fire and possibly (given stiff winds) burned up.”

Ric was unharmed, and the damage was limited to the power panel. The transmitter temporarily operated off of backup generator power, pending replacements for the input and meter. KNOM is working with Nome Joint Utilities to restore operations to normal as quickly as possible.

Your prayer support for the KNOM Mission is always needed and always appreciated. Praise God that Ric was not hurt. Praise God for saving the transmitter. Praise God that the backup generator was serviced just a few days earlier, so it was ready and in tip-top shape!

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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.