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KNOM’s First Days, 46 Years Ago

Black and white image of Catholic bishop pushing button on radio control console
Bishop Robert Whelan pushes a button to begin KNOM’s very first official program, July 14, 1971. Photo: KNOM file.

It was on July 14, 1971, that KNOM signed on for its first broadcast day.

Bishop Robert Whelan pushed the button that started the first program. KNOM would beam the very first hourly newscasts in Alaska west of Anchorage, as well as its first Catholic Mass, live from St. Joseph Church in Nome.

The reach of KNOM’s signal, and the technology used in its daily mission, have changed a lot in 46 years. Still, the mission itself remains the same: to bring faith, inspiration, news, and education to the rural corners of the region. Through your support and prayers, the mission continues!

Image at top: Bishop Robert Whelan pushes a button to begin KNOM’s very first official program, July 14, 1971.

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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.