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Remarking on 50 Transformative Years

Anniversary festivities were intentionally kept small due to concerns over Covid-19. Still, several distinguished guests and “KNOM icons” from decades past booked a flight to Nome to celebrate.

When radio people gather, the chatter is inevitable. Still, after many formal and informal remarks, one clear message crystalized: for community members, friends, listeners, benefactors, and former volunteers, KNOM has had a transformational impact on those who have made it their mission.

For example, Ukallaysaaq Okleasik, a board member for KNOM, spoke of living across the street from the radio station as a child and having close friends who were volunteers.

Alex Hills, one of three young volunteer engineers who built the original studio and transmitter facilities spoke of meeting his wife, Meg, at KNOM. As a support nurse, Meg donated all her wages to KNOM.

During a special anniversary Mass, Board President Fr. Ross Tozzi’s powerful homily parallelled KNOM’s history with each of the mysteries of the Rosary: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious. He shared his story of arriving to volunteer in the mission’s business department, and his journey to becoming ordained in Nome on KNOM’s 30th birthday, which makes July 14, 2021 the 20th anniversary of his ordination.

Florence Busch, former business manager and wife of the late Tom Busch, KNOM’s longtime general manager and engineer, told the story of the first time she tuned into KNOM. She heard Tom’s voice on the radio in her home village of St. Mary’s in 1971 and declared to her friends that one day, she would marry him. She also shared her love and gratitude for the extended family of KNOM.

Image at top: Three Generations – Florence Busch, to the right, hugs her goddaughter Rosa (Schmidt) Wright (daughter of Business Manager Lynette Schmidt and former General Manager Ric Schmidt). Rosa is holding her goddaughter and niece Ada Schmidt.

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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.