We received a text this afternoon telling us that Tom Busch, former General Manager and currently Financial Officer for KNOM in Nome was called to the Lord in his sleep today.
For everyone in Western Alaska who enjoyed listening to KNOM, 780 on your AM Dial, "Yours for Western Alaska" this comes as very sad news.
I met Tom once, for just a few minutes, at the Station during one of my two ever trips to Nome. He was in the middle of getting ready for Iditarod coverage (KNOM wrote THAT book) and didn't have time to talk.
Tom was an incredible fundraiser for the station, responsible for a copmplete rebuild of everything except the tower.
He also kept the station on an even keel through some very rough times which those from the region know about.
Tom was on the air regularly, as was his lovely wife Florence, originally from Saint Mary's on the Yukon River.
They raised two children, whom Tom never missed an opportunity to brag about on the air. He and Florence had retired to Anchroaeg, but Tom reamined very active with the Station from providing engineering support to maintaining the active fundraising needed to keep it ont he air.
KNOM remains a beacon of "Music, News and Inspiration" for all its listeners up and down the Bering Sea Coast.
I haven't been much of a listener since I moved to Bethel, but when I do tune it in is is still the same, highly professional yet right next door operation I first heard when I went to Hooper Bay in the summer of 1979.
So, Tom, here's a "Dear D.J., Hi and Hello" and a "Waqqa, Camai, Cangaciit" to you.
God Bless You and your Family, and everyone who ever worked for you or knew you. We'll all miss you!