have i mentioned that we have one radio station? KHNS broadcasts to haines, skagway and klukwan. depending on where you are, it will come in on 102.3 or 91.9 fm. everything else is static.

this took some adjusting on my part. in and around boston, it often feels as if there are more stations than frequencies for them to air on. plenty of college and independent stations to allowed me to be music-ADD as i drove.

so what is a girl to do when her only option is a local station that plays country music for a significant portion of the day? well, don’t turn on the radio when “back country” is on, for starters. because it is such a small public station, they often switch over to broadcast NPR. this provides my isolated ears with the world and national news, “world cafe,” “on being,” and “wait, wait, don’t tell me!” i may have previously skipped past these programs when there were mediocre new top 40 hits a few turns of the dial away. i am growing to not only appreciate NPR, but rely on it. the importance of radio has been lost in many places. not here. i feel as if in this way i’ve gone back in time.

there are also regular alaska-wide news with features like “this day in alaska history,” which always provides some amusing questions as to what the criteria for being included in the program are. and we cannot forget the local gems like the aforementioned “safety talk,” “shrink rap” with the local psychotherapist, and “listener personals” (find a dog? need a ride to whitehorse? package arrived?). seriously, just look at the program guide. in fact, look at the whole website. you may even be able to listen to some past programs!

my habit has become to turn on the radio in the morning when i begin making breakfast. there are speakers in the living room and the kitchen. i get to catch up on my news before guests come down. then the music program “sound waves” provides a fun soundtrack to my cooking, and white-noise for the guests (so they don’t think i’m eavesdropping).

i have grown to love KHNS. in and of itself, it provides a surprising amount of music my tastes appreciate. it does not broadcast music i am not interested in, but would be surrounded by in the lower 48 (we’re talking ke$ha and justin bieber). and i’m not the only one who loves it. earlier this summer, they had a full week dedicated to fundraising, rather than doing events throughout the year. they surpassed their goal early by thousands. the community rallies around them financially, and by volunteering, to keep this integral part of life thriving.

the radio here keeps things simple, useful, comprehensive and fair. it’s the perfect hybrid of public radio and entertainment-based broadcasting: by the people, for the people. i could keep singing the praises of KHNS now that i’ve started. but you’re probably getting a little bored. so go explore the website, seriously. soon i shall regale you with tales of bears, politicians and crabs. you can decide which sounds scariest.