KMOJ recently joined a handful of community partners to change racial narratives in the media. The radio station, located on West Broadway in North Minneapolis, has a mission that matches the goals of the project, which is called Truth and Transformation: Changing Racial Narratives in the Media.
Maybe this project can’t solve all the problems in news outlets, but it might reduce bias in Twin Cities media, according to KMOJ General Manager Freddie Bell.
“At the very least, [we can] sensitize the journalists who are writing to make sure that we’re portraying everyone in the best possible light we can and not through the lens of something negative that has happened,” said Bell, who is excited about the Truth and Transformation Conference in March 2019. “But the overall mission is to make sure that we’re doing the very best that we can and reporting as accurately as possible on the issues that are impacting our communities.”
KMOJ was born to give voice to an African-American community that lacked representation in the Twin Cities media. KMOJ was founded with the objective of training African-American youths in broadcasting. Its programs feature music, entertainment and news.
Discussing the African-American experience
During its 42 years, the station has used its platform to invite guests from communities throughout the Twins Cities to speak on the African-American experience. The platform is in tune with the needs of the community, station officials say.
“It’s an important role to make sure that we are accurately describing and depicting the lives of the people who we serve and to make sure that we’re taking care of their needs, not only [in] health, education, welfare, housing, transportation, social issues and so on,” Bell said, “but also to train the young broadcasters to be proficient.”
Guests include those impacted by the issues discussed on KMOJ and not all are African-American, Bell said. The station serves as the voice for underrepresented people in the media and intends to portray them with dignity and respect.
The radio station reaches about 140,000 listeners per week, with its 6,200-megawatt range spanning from the Twins Cities to as far east as Hudson, Wisconsin.
KMOJ also started a new radio station, The Ice. It’s the first urban hip-hop radio station to target a younger audience and can be streamed online or heard on the HD channel 89.9.
Besides providing news and entertainment, KMOJ also serves its community by helping people with issues such as affordable housing and access to health care.
“Without this voice, I don’t even want to entertain what it would be like for the people that we serve without having that constant drumbeat of information going to the communities so that they have a voice,” Bell said.