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Sticker shock: Nome cost of living rises exponentially

In the Lower 48 states, food costs have increased by an average of 12-13% in the last year. In Nome, they have increased by 27%. A small watermelon, which has always been a particularly fancy dish in Bush Alaska, costs about $55 at the local grocery store in Nome.

Gas prices in Nome stay the same throughout the year, based on the price of fuel when the barge arrives in the summer. This year, the price has been a somewhat typical $5.29/gallon. As of early July, the price for the rest of the year is projected to nearly double, going up to approximately $9/gallon. With the hike in fuel cost, it’s expected that the cost of power, which has increased by 12% already this year, will go up an additional 30%. For KNOM’s transmitter alone, the cost went from $6,983.48 in June of 2021 to $7,791.66 in June 2022. At a 30% increase, that totals to $10,129.16 in transmitter power — each month.

Some attentive readers may also have noticed that KNOM’s newsletter mailings have been impacted by shortages and delays in the paper industry. One recent newsletter, in early June, was delayed by several weeks. The mission’s printing and mailing company has gone above and beyond to ensure that the situation isn’t worse, and at the end of this summer we should be through the worst of it — we hope. For now, thanks to the sacrifice of a great number of faithful and regular benefactors, KNOM’s cash flow is sufficient to keep the lights on and the mission alive. We are grateful for your patience as we navigate the changing economy.

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Christmas 2023

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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.