780 AM | 96.1 FM 


(907) 443-5221

Honey Buckets, Slow Internet

A skyline view of the community of Noorvik, Alaska, and the surrounding countryside
Noorvik, Alaska, where volunteers Tyler Stup and Lauren Frost recently traveled to cover a much-needed improvement to the village’s internet service. Photo: Lauren Frost, KNOM.

In late 2016, a fire that damaged a water treatment plant in the village of Emmonak (ee-MON-ick) threatened a freeze-up of the town’s pipes. Volunteer Tyler Stup reported that residents were urged to conserve water and to use “honey buckets” rather than toilets. This effort was needed to refill the village’s isolated water supply and to repair the damage.

The main water line for the village of Stebbins froze in late November. The backup solution was to haul water from a lake five miles away. However, the haul trucks were in disrepair and first needed to be fixed. Volunteer Davis Hovey reported that the village was at risk to completely run out of water by the New Year. Residents were forced to travel 13 miles (mostly by snowmachine) to the nearby village of St. Michael to shower or do laundry.

Meanwhile, a new, 100-foot microwave tower looms over the skyline of the small village of Noorvik (NORE-vick), population 650, raising hopes of faster internet speeds. Volunteers Lauren Frost and Tyler Stup reported how even modest bumps in connectivity would offer crucially needed improvements in “telelearning” for local schools and “telemedicine” for local clinics. Villagers pay many times more for internet speeds that are a fraction of what is available in cities like Anchorage or the Lower 48.

These are just a few examples of how Western Alaska’s lack of infrastructure and reliable basic services affect KNOM listeners. It’s been a frequent subject of recent news stories. This year’s volunteer crew is seeing, first-hand, the ripple effect of the lack of basic support services that many take for granted. They travel free, thanks to a sponsorship agreement with Bering Air to provide free transport to the sources of stories like these. And, of course, their stories make it to air thanks to you.

Share this story


Recent Posts

Wednesday Night in Nome: Miss ANB Pageant Returns

The Miss ANB Pageant will be held at 7:00 p.m. June 12 at the Mini Convention Center in Nome. Organized by Janet Tobuk and her daughter Marsha Tobuk, the event highlights the traditions and cultural knowledge of contestants from the Bering Strait region.  This year all contestants are first-time participants,

Read More »

UAF NW Campus Director Barbara Amarok Resigns

Barbara Amarok, Director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Northwest Campus (UAF NW), resigned from her position on Friday, May 31. Amarok served as Director of the Nome-based campus since June 2019.  Amarok is an Inupiaq Alaska Native from Nome. After earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education she returned

Read More »



Work for Us:




(907) 443-5221 


(907) 868-1200 

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.