Mukluk Telegraph

by Gary Smith
(Grand Junction, CO USA)

In 1960, I was the Mukluk editor on KENI radio.

I was 16, and it was my first job.

It was really early Face Book with a twist.
Folks would call in and ask us to send messages to family of friends out in the bush.

Since KENI radio was a 50,000 watt clear channel station, it's signal reached out a long way.

At the time,the station was on the third floor of the 4th ave. theater.

What was also interesting, was that there was a complete other theater above the movie theater and it was designed to do live radio shows.

Fun days.

A Note from Anchorage Alaska Memories

Gary, very fascinating story.

There was just something fascinating about listening to the messages on Mukluk Telegraph. And you're right, the service really was an early form of today's "Facebook."

Family and friends were sending messages to each other by Mukluk Telegraph, but were using a commercial radio station (KENI) instead of Facebook (which of course didn't exist at that time).

My wife's family operated a commercial fishing site at Point Possession across Cook Inlet from Anchorage and every summer they used Mukluk Telegraph to communicate between Anchorage and Point Possession.

Who ever came up with the idea for Mukluk Telegraph at KENI radio, really hit on a unique Alaska need and an easy way to reach people in isolated places. And the show was a hit.

Thank you for sharing your story here on Anchorage

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Good ol' Days
by: Janie Dalton

Mukluk telegraph was always on our transistor radio when we were at our cabin on Nancy Lake.

I was young, and I loved listening to the stories.

Mukluk Telegraph was a Lifeline
by: Devon Oxford

I grew up on a backwoods homestead in Alaska.

Mukluk Telegraph was the only way we could keep in touch with family that drove 87 mile to Anchorage.

If they had problems in town, or other kinds of problems, they could let us know. Invaluable!

How I Found out I had a Brother 69 Years Ago.
by: Roxanne Gee Ockey

Us kids would sit around a battery operated radio each night and listen.

The Mukluk news is what we called it.

But this one night I remember so well, I was only 3, but so crystal clear. Might have been my Dad's reaction, for it (Mukluk Telegraph) announced that Ray Gee had a son. After 3 girls his delight showed.

Mukluk Telegraph
by: James Brock

Our homestead was at Mile Post 79 on the Parks highway.

Mukluk was our lifeline. Anyone needing to get a message to us would call(or write)the radio station knowing we listened every night.

Mukluk Radio Time Frame
by: Terrie

How long was the Mukluk radio on the air?

A Note From Anchorage Memories


That's a great question.

Anchorage Memories doesn't have the answer, but perhaps one of our website visitors will know.

Thank you

Mukluk Telegraph
by: Robbie Johnson

My family and I used the telegraph to send messages to friends who homesteaded near Talkeetna before the Parks Highway was put through.

The road ended at Montana Creek, so they had to get everything by train.

They would write us about what they needed.

We would pick up their things and take it to the train station in Anchorage, and then we had a message on Mukluk to let our friends know what train to meet.

When we went to visit the homestead, Mukluk was how we let them know to meet and pick us up.

Mukluk Telegraph was important to a lot of people back in those days.

A Note from Anchorage Memories


Yes, your comment gives us a perfect example of how important the Mukluk Telegraph service was.

It's interesting how people relied on it and how people enjoyed hearing the messages.

Thank you


Mukluk Telegraph
by: Anonymous

I believe I even heard a marriage proposal on Mukluk Telegraph at one time.

I never did hear what her answer was...

Mukluk telegraph Memories
by: John Cole

I listened when I was a kid in Anchorage.

I remember hearing messages going out to villages that someone was coming out or coming to town and needed to be picked up.

It was just very interesting.

My Memories of Mukluk Telegraph
by: Richard Mitchell

I grew up in Anchorage and remember listening to the Mukluk Telegraph.

It was a vital communication link to bush areas in the Alaska bush. Many people in far off isolated areas didn't have electricity or phone service and relied heavily on transistor radios for communication with the outside world.

Mukluk Telegraph was a big part of the equation. They were amazing moments in early broadcasting. I was glad to experience it. Richard Mitchell, Sacramento CA

I Remember Mukluk Telegraph
by: Corky Dow

Listened as a kid. It was also used for messages to bring out supplies, and for getting picked up.

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