Communications and Media
Newspapers are becoming thinner with each passing year as the Internet cuts into their business. Alaska’s unofficial state newspaper is the Anchorage Daily News, and its website (www.adn.com) contains current stories, news blogs, classified ads, upcoming events, weather, and video. The company also produces a thick and free Alaska Visitors Guide that can be found in the larger visitors centers or online at www.alaska.com.
Alaska Magazine (907/272-6070, www.alaskamagazine.com) is available at grocery checkouts and magazine racks across Alaska, and in many Lower 48 magazine shops. Like the Milepost and Juneau Empire, Alaska Magazine is owned by a Georgia-based media conglomerate, Morris Communications.
Commercial radio stations are in all the larger towns, and the state is blessed to have the Alaska Public Radio Network (www.aprn.org), one of the finest public radio networks in the country. Anchorage’s KSKA (91.1 FM, www.kska.org) is the flagship station, but many Alaskan towns have their own versions, including Ketchikan’s KRBD (www.krbd.org) and Barrow’s KBRW (www.kbrw.org).
Anchorage’s noncommercial KNBA (90.3 FM, www.knba.org) is one of the only Native Alaskan–owned radio stations in the nation, and it broadcasts some of the best music programming in Alaska. Two other notable stations are KBBI (890 AM, www.kbbi.org) in Homer and KTNA (88.5 FM, www.ktna.org) in Talkeetna.
Post offices are generally open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday, though a few open their doors on Saturday. Anchorage’s airport post office is open 24 hours a day year-round. When post offices are closed, their outer doors usually remain open, so you can go in to buy stamps from the machines. Many grocery store checkout counters also sell books of stamps at no markup.
Phones and Email
Telephone service is excellent to all the major towns and cities in Alaska, though you may experience a delay in some remote areas, and the wilderness lodges often depend on radio or satellite phones. Cellular phone coverage is variable, and not all systems work even when services exist, so contact your carrier for a coverage map ahead of your trip.
Alaska is surprisingly well wired, and even the most remote towns now have some sort of online connection. Nearly every library in Alaska (except Ketchikan) has at least one computer where you can check your email or surf the Web for free, though you may need to wait in line or sign up ahead of time. In addition, nearly all towns now have commercial businesses where you can rent computers by the hour for the same purpose. Wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) is becoming the norm for Alaskan hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, along with many local businesses. It’s even available on some state ferries. Visit www.free-hotspot.com for updated listings around the state.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition