KNOM is a non-commercial Catholic radio station in Nome, Alaska, broadcasting at 780 AM and 96.1 FM. The station owner and licensee is the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska. The FM signal is 1000 watts and covers the city of Nome and immediately surrounding environs. The AM signal is 25 kilowatts and can be heard as far north as Barter Island and as far south as the Alaska Peninsula, with regular coverage of approximately 100,000 square miles. Its signal penetrates deep into the Russian Far East.
In addition to its local, religious and Catholic programming, KNOM broadcasts a wide range of music in various formats. It also broadcasts national news from ABC Radio, plus some syndicated programming, such as American Top 20.
Its regional news and public affairs department is the largest of any Alaska radio station.
The original studio building was an old remodeled house, and the original AM transmitter building, three miles east of Nome, was a retired construction trailer which the station bought for $300. Volunteer dormitories were "K-D" (knock-down) structures. Intended as temporary offices and housing for the military in World War II, these leaky and unsafe dorms were considered an extreme fire risk. From the station's earliest days, it was clear that these facilities were deteriorating and becoming dangerous. Further, poor insulation at the studio was sapping up to 5,000 gallons of fuel oil a year.
In 1992, contributors gave the station the money to construct a new, super-insulated dormitory, and that year, donated the $438,000 it would cost to replace the studio.
May 17, 1993 saw KNOM's first broadcast from the new building. That same morning, low power KNOM-FM signed on, providing Nome area listeners with a high fidelity stereo signal.
Like the dormitory, the studio's walls are fifteen inches thick. Floor and ceiling have 38 inches of insulation.
On January 9, 1996, KNOM increased its hours of daily operation from 18 to 24.
August 16, 1997, in a newly constructed transmitter building, KNOM-AM increased power to 25,000 Watts.
April 2005, 30+ year General Manager, Tom Busch (who started as a KNOM volunteer and chief engineer in 1970) became development director and part-time engineer, and long time Program Director, and former volunteer Ric Schmidt became General Manager. Both are past two-term presidents of the Alaska Broadcasters Association.
Currently KNOM AM and FM is staffed by five full-time and three part-time paid staff and four full-time and five part-time volunteers. College senior who are interested in public service, or professional broadcast training, are encouraged to apply.
The station is the recipient of three Crystal Awards for Excellence from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), two NAB Marconi Religious Station of the Year Awards, and sixteen Gabriel Radio Station of the Year Awards, plus numerous Crystal Communicator honors and awards from the Alaska Broadcasters Association.