KMOJ’S MISSION & GOALS
KMOJ has a vision of equipping Communities of Color with information and education through the vehicle of mass communication which includes: computer/internet, television, radio, and print journalism. KMOJ’s mission is 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 OVERARCHING 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 antithetical to the image of Communities of Color.
With initial support from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, The Center for Communication and Development (CCD)/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 resources through local agencies and churches, various social awareness programs, positive entertainment, and provided a forum for discussing issues that affected the lives of and helped improved the lives of African-American people. The founding vision was to “Improve the quality of love and provide positive experiences for residents in the north Minneapolis/St. Paul/St. Paul Sumner-Olson and Glendwood-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. 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 “UMOJA” which means “Unity.” 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 it plays in training and programming; helping to develop the vision of Twin Cities urban communities by engaging local residents, professionals, elected officials, and community activists, 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.
2021 LOCAL CONTENT AND SERVICE REPORT
KMOJ-FM remains committed to producing and delivering no less than 60% of its programming to community dialogue and education. The station’s community engagement strategies encompass live remote broadcasts of community forums and Town Hall Meetings and Forums like Housing, Health and Education. KMOJ disseminates programming and information through our on-air presentations, website and social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. North Minneapolis is a residential neighborhood largely populated by African Americans so KMOJ provides culturally specific engagement activities where residents can seek relief from the strains of the inequalities inherent in achievement gaps. KMOJ hosts or partners with a number of organizations to address community needs. KMOJ-FM commits more than 15 hours per week to Public Affairs programming that focuses entirely on issues that affect African American’s and other people of color.
KMOJ-FM collaborates with many public media outlets (Minnesota Public Radio), Insight News, North News, 360 Journalism, and The Spokesman-Recorder Newspaper, Black Media America Television, Twin Cities Public Television, Minnesota Television Network among other outlets. We also collaborate with Community non-profits (Northpoint Health and Wellness Center, Stella Whitney-West);The Urban League (Steve Belton); Minneapolis and St. Paul NAACP; African American Leadership Council, Marcus Owens; Government agencies (State of Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz; Attorney General Keith Ellison; The City of St. Paul, Mayor Melvin Carter; Ramsey and Hennepin Counties; and the City of Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey), Educational institutions (Minneapolis and St. Paul Public schools, Independent School District 622, Burnsville Public Schools; Superintendents Ed Graff, Joe Gothard, Christine Tucci-Osorio and Teresa Battle respectively; the University of Minnesota and Mankato State University, Best Academy and Harvest Prep School). KMOJ-FM also works in conjunction with many business community partners like Summit Academy OIC, The American Red Cross. Hamline University, St. Paul College; St. Thomas University, and, Metropolitan Technical and Community College. Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities; Cars For Neighbors; Minnesota Public Housing Authority, Union Gospel Mission, Dr. Charles Morgan. KMOJ also regularly engages with parents and influencers through its Community Advisory Board.
KMOJ’s programming is focused to engage more into education and finding solutions for the problems in the communities of color. We will continue our mission which is to educate through a more aggressive focus on eliminating teen violence, home foreclosures, job creation and community empowerment. We’re also focused on the issue of homelessness; food insecurity; and, of course COVID-19. Through nurturing KMOJ’s new HD station, KMOJ was able to begin reaching a previously-underserved segment of its community (18-24 year-olds) with culturally specific programming. Current metrics indicate an audience that continues growing. Partnering with The Minnesota Department of Health, The Department of Commerce and Education; and The Department of Public Safety, KMOJ is providing critical, life-saving information to its audience.. KMOJ developed Local and National documentaries on vaccines and civil unrest.
KMOJ is a voice for people of Color and regularly gives voice to its listener base through its programming and community events. KMOJ is actively engaged elected and community officials such as Janaan Ahmed who serves as the student representative on the Minneapolis Public School Board; Alice Roberts-Davis, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration and James Burroughs, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Minnesota Children’s Hospital in an effort to bring forward people of color who are making a difference in the communities we serve; Louis King, President of OIC American and The ED of Summit Academy, OIC and the leader of the African American Community Response Team in its effort to find a community-based solution to COVID. The station’s original newscast were translated into four different languages for public consumption.
In the past, the CPB Grant provided KMOJ with the financial resources to continue to provide live broadcasts from community events. The grant also allowed KMOJ the ability to hire Independent Contractors to host, produce and voice various programs that targeted issues that face the African American community. KMOJ was also able to continue to increase the quality of its Public Affairs programming by hiring more professional independent Contractors that resulted in a continued improvement in the quality of programming. Most recently CPB funding is enabling to employ a seasoned Program Director to guide our broadcast on-line efforts to designed to reach an even broader audience. KMOJ was also able to purchase equipment enabling the station to broadcast remotely in an effort to control the spread of the virus.
Additionally, the grant provides KMOJ the opportunity to have its information consumed nationwide through its website and various social media platforms which are critical to effective communication today and in the future. The support is especially helpful as KMOJ navigates its way through COVID-19 and civil unrest.