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National Association of Broadcasters

KNOM-AM/FM - A Critical Communications Link in Remote Area

Topic: Safety Initiatives

In a remote 100,000 square miles of signal area, KNOM-AM/FM in Nome, Alaska, acts as a critical communications link. The police chief walks to the station when he has safety information, and KNOM immediately starts broadcasting announcements. "Community service is 24-hours a day for us," said General Manager Ric Schmidt. "We are the emergency access point, and the only communication entity that has a back-up power source." This community-based emergency system can be life-saving in a place where temperatures and weather can be extreme. You can travel to Nome only by plane, boat, snow mobile or dog sled, so the KNOM travel report is crucial to residentsí safety and includes reports from listeners and local police of places where trails have become "soft" due to thawing. Because there have been several cases of unexplained disappearances in the past 10 years, KNOM staff are very proactive at getting missing people reports on the air. This past year, there were four reports, and all four people were found in fairly short order. "The radio saves lives," said Schmidt. "It keeps folks connected."

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