With initial support from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, The Center for Communication and Development (CCD)/ KMOJ Radio (KMOJ) was born to provide broadcast communications training for African-Americans living in the Twin Cities, and serve as an information and communications vehicle for the African-American community as a whole. KMOJ utilized community members as on-air announcers to provide, public service announcements, information on community resources through other community agencies and churches, various social awareness programs, positive entertainment, and provided a forum for discussing issues that affected the lives of African-American people as a means to improving the quality of life for African-American people. The founding vision was “to improve the quality of life and provide positive experiences for residents in the north Minneapolis/St. Paul/St. Paul/St. Paul/St. Paul Sumner-Olson and Glenwood-Lyndale housing projects through entertainment, public service announcements and a forum for discussing issues that affected their lives.”
To meet its communications goals, the Center for Communication and Development was awarded a broadcasting license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in March 1976. Shortly there after on June 22, 1976, KMOJ-FM was created and began operating “on-the-air. The station call letters, KMOJ were inspired by the Swahili word for Unity, Umoja. At its birth, the community-based radio station’s 10 mega-watt transmitter was only able to broadcast in the immediate area of the public housing of north Minneapolis , but it wasn’t long before people in south Minneapolis were trying to pick up its signal and KMOJ was recognized as the Heart and Soul of the Cities.
KMOJ has made great strides since its first broadcast. KMOJ has been a training ground for the broadcast industry, involving on-air announcing, public affairs programming, music programming, administration, marketing, production, and management. In addition, the on-air venue has expanded to include comprehensive public affairs programming, and a staple of positive urban contemporary music targeted to the listening audience in the following genres: rhythm & blues (r & b), hip-hop, gospel, reggae, jazz, and blues.
As KMOJ has grown, the focus shifted from targeting the African American community to all Communities of Color. As a part of KMOJ’s transition and growth, it is now recognized as “The People’s Station” to signify the broad audience and purpose of empowering the greater community through education and information. The transmission wattage for the station has grown throughout history from its founding 10 megawatts, to 100 megawatts, to 1000 megawatts and to its current 6,200 megawatts. As a result of the increase in power and coverage, KMOJ is now able to provide news, information and entertainment to the entire metropolitan area. The diverse listening base has increased from 87,500 unduplicated listeners per week to an estimated 140,000 per week.
KMOJ targets all Communities of Color with the goal of bringing awareness and education to the overall audience, resulting in a more informed community.
Current Programs & Activities
KMOJ maintains two key areas: Training in Broadcast Management and Administration & On-Air Programming through engagement, entertainment, and education. KMOJ programs and activities serve as a “motivator” by drawing together community members who strive to provide a broadcast medium for a community that has been misrepresented in, misinformed by, and not provided access to, by mainstream media entities. KMOJ works towards popularizing and preserving indigenous forms of cultural expression not typically broadcasted by commercial stations. KMOJ values the role we play in training and programming; helping to develop the vision of Twin Cities urban communities by engaging local residents, professional, elected officials, and community activist, etc, in cross-cultural discussions that will engage in a truthful and candid, yet positive approach to discussing and examining Communities of Color from a journalistic perspective.
Training in Broadcasting
Central to the mission of KMOJ is to increase the representation of People of Color in Radio Broadcasting. To fulfill this, KMOJ is a training site for the broadcast industry in the areas of: on-air announcing, public affairs programming, music programming, administration, marketing, production, and management through the KMOJ Internship Program.
Interns are recruited from the community to include individuals who are participating in an accredited broadcasting program such as Brown College, Dunwoody Institute, Northwestern College, etc; and individuals who have experience in broadcasting or natural skills and talents for radio. Each intern’s skill level is assessed to determine their individualized training needs.
Mission & Goals
The current organizational vision of KMOJ is to develop Communities of Color with information and education through the vehicle of mass communication which includes: computer/internet, television, radio, and print journalism.
It is the mission of KMOJ to:
“Teach Communities of Color media skills that help reinstate the positive affirmative Black image.”
The Center for Communication and Development’s philosophy is that through a process of education, collaboration, and grounding in culture and community, it can elevate the way of life of the people of its community. The organization understands the significance of its role as a media resource for the community and recognizes that this role must be nurtured and expanded to support and inform the community with access to knowledge and information.
KMOJ’s Over Arching Goals are
- To educate and engage Communities of Color to reinstate the affirmative Black image;
- To support and empower Communities of Color in life long learning of it’s traditional and modern cultures, spirituality, and history; and
- To challenge systems, policies, and practices which are anti ethical to the image of Communities of Color.