KWIT-KOJI Siouxland Public Media History
KWIT-KOJI has been broadcasting from the campus of Western Iowa Tech Community College for thirty eight years. The 100,000 watt station licensed to Western Iowa Tech began broadcasting in January of 1978. The station serves a 90-mile radius around Sioux City, reaching listeners in Northwest Iowa and neighboring states including service to the Iowa Lakes region.
Meetings of the Board of Directors of Western Iowa Tech - All meetings are held at 4:00: May 14th, June 18th.
See our Audited Financial Statements at the bottom of the page.
To request a copy of the most recent Annual Financial Reports submitted to the CPB, please send a written request to:
Mr. Troy Jasman, WITCC, 4647 Stone Avenue, Sioux City, Iowa 51106
Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI provides educational programming that reflects the rich cultural diversity of our region, its history and unique geographical characteristics. We strive to inform, educate, inspire and enhance the lives of our listenership with radio that is relevant, meaningful and intelligent.
SPM follows the standards and policies of journalism through balanced reporting and engagement encouraging public discourse.
SPM provides excellence and quality in the production and presentation of air-product with continuous improvements as part of our daily operations.
SPM is a unique voice in the Sioux City market. Our programming reflects the indigenous stories of life through the medium of public radio providing a local, regional and global link to news and information.
SPM creates and strengthens community relationships and establishes loyalty and goodwill with donors, listeners and the communities we serve.
SPM supports values of diversity, creativity and integrity in a setting that is professional, supportive and dynamic.
SPM supports diversity in our full and part-time staffing comprised of individuals of varied age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, state and national origin, rural and urban origin, veteran status, political views, educational background and socio-economic conditions.
In addition Western Iowa Tech Community College supports diversity in its EEO and hiring practices.
SPM’s Public Records Policy
Public records are available for viewing Monday through Friday during regular business hours at our studio, located at 4647 Stone Avenue on the campus of Western Iowa Tech Community College.
View SPM’s Donor Information Policy
Siouxland Public Media does not share its membership list with any other parties. All donor information is strictly confidential.
In compliance with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this page includes Siouxland Public Media’s response to the annual questions from the CPB.
1. Describe your overall goals and approach to address identified community issues, needs, and interests through your station’s vital local services, such as multiplatform long and short-form content, digital and in-person engagement, education services, community information, partnership support, and other activities, and audiences you reached or new audiences you engaged.
Siouxland Public Media’s goal is to serve our community with news, information, and music that it would not be privileged to if the local media landscape was limited to commercial or religious outlets - or, for that matter, to media outlets that do not find themselves embedded in their broadcast communities. We commit ourselves to this goal knowing the profound impact that our informational ecosystem has not only our decision making processes, but on our mental and physical health, on our sense of community, and on how we define our value and purpose; conversely, we commit ourselves to being a part of the community because we know the importance of having first-hand perspective when it comes to understanding the issues of the community. Therefore, our news, whether generated by NPR, the BBC, or us, is designed to inform the people of Siouxland with respect to their diverse beliefs and backgrounds. The stories we cover are chosen because they carry ideas and information valuable to our listeners: We talk with our politicians about proposed legislation, our community leaders about the directions they want to take us, and our community members about the experience of living here and the problems they face. We do all of this in a variety of forms: we produce local newscasts every weekday that focus attention upon the important happenings of the day; we air long features and interviews during high listenership times, giving community members an important platform; we broadcast a weekly news and culture show where we gather a diversity of voices to examine impactful topics, and we highlight the works of local artists and musicians; we produce music programming that fills the gaps in service provided by commercial stations, whether that service is classical music, hip hop, jazz, blues, etc.; and, we develop podcasts that reach minority audiences and satisfy cultural appetites.
As a CPB funded station, we, along with our Community Advisory Board, have identified two primary, urgent community issues to address. The first is the lack of communications across language and cultural divides in the community. Nearly one-fifth of people living in Sioux City speak a language other than English at home, yet there is not a local, daily news source that can inform non-English speakers of community issues. The second is the lack of community participation across all languages and cultures in civic activities. We, the station and the board, are approaching these issues with strategies both short-term and long. Right away, we are able to shape programming that both reaches non-English speakers and engages community-members in civic life. To the former, we are looking into producing and distributing news in languages other than English. As we pursue this strategic initiative, we are developing partnerships with outside agencies who will help to translate and voice our news. On our side, we are developing tools for delivering the scripts to the translators/readers and to an audience that, traditionally, hasn’t tuned into radio. To the latter, engaging people in civic life, we have increased our investments in reporting and we have intentionally crafted accessible, live broadcasts focusing on civic issues so that community members can access the programming in person, on the air, in a live video stream, and as a podcast.
Looking forward, the board is engaged in re-defining our diversity statement and in recruiting members that reflect the diversity of the community. We are also crafting a five-year strategic plan that positions our station to be at the center of civic life in the community and defines us a place for civil debate that welcomes people of all cultures and backgrounds.
2. Describe key initiatives and the variety of partners with whom you collaborated, including other public media outlets, community nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions, the business community, teachers and parents, etc. This will illustrate the many ways you’re connected across the community and engaged with other important organizations in the area.
Our weekly news-magazine, The Exchange, has taken us out into the community to host live debates that the populace can attend as well as listen to. We have hosted city council members, county supervisors, state representatives, the sheriff, and other elected officials at the Sioux City Public Library, Sioux City Public Museum, Blue Cafe, Pierce Street Coffee Works, and Town Square Coffeehouse. Of not this year, we hosted live candidate forums for the Sioux City Community Schools’ School Board election and the City of Sioux City City Council election. These forums, held at the public library downtown, were attended by members of the voting public who wanted to engage with the politicians in a civil manner, and the forums were both broadcast and live streamed. In the near future, The Exchange will be broadcasting live from downtown focusing on the proposed county jail, homelessness (collaboration with Hope Street), and issues germain to youth and media (collaboration with Girls Inc.).
Every week we collaborate with nonprofits and teachers in our community. Check It Out is a regular feature co-produced with the Sioux City Public Library. Librarians write and voice book recommendations, which we then produce, broadcast, and share. Highlighted books are quickly checked out, and book clubs have begun to use this feature as a resource when deciding upon their selections. The head of our library shares this series at conferences to demonstrate effective collaboration and outreach. Expanding on the success of CIO, we have begun producing a podcast in collaboration with the library, The First Fifty Pages. FFP focuses on reading, its importance in our lives and our communities, discusses issues important to the library and library culture, and acts as a digital space for people who love books.
Welcome. Sit. Stay. is a weekly collaboration with the Siouxland Humane Society where we feature an animal in need, as well as a dog-themed poem and song. Though the tone is a bit light-hearted, it has proved to be effective, helping the adoption rate in our community to brush against 100%. S
Small Wonders is a series we have produced alongside Dr. James Schaap, a teacher, writer, and historian. This series, which tells the stories of Siouxland’s past, like Welcome. Sit. Stay. has proved to be a popular item on social media. The stories are only four minutes, and are told beautifully by Dr. Schaap. What they have done beyond entertain, though, is give our listeners a sense of their historical inheritance, a feeling of identity. And as the popularity of the series has grown, we have begun performing the stories live, collaborating on events with the Northwest Iowa Group of the Sierra Club, Book People, Briar Cliff University, and the University of Nebraska Omaha.
In our continued work to highlight the wonderful music scene in Siouxland, we both record and broadcast live the recitals of the Morningside Piano Recital Series. Recently we hosted a live broadcast of Jory Vinikour performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, an encore performance that followed Vinikours critically acclaimed concert at Ravinia. We have recorded concerts by Logan Skelton and Scott Piper (broadcast 1.17.20), and Arthur Greene, Solomia Soroka, and Stephanie March. In the past, we have also broadcast concerts/performances in collaboration with the National Music Museum and the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra.
Additional outreach and collaboration with area non-profits includes our second annual live-broadcast from the Sioux City International Film Festival - this year highlighting women in film - and our second annual collaborative “traditional coffee roasting event” held with the Mary Treglia Community House. And along with Lamb Arts Regional Theatre we hosted our second annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
3. What impact did your key initiatives and partnerships have in your community? Describe any known measurable impact, such as increased awareness, learning or understanding about particular issues. Describe indicators of success, such as connecting people to needed resources or strengthening conversational ties across diverse neighborhoods. Did a partner see an increase in requests for related resources? Please include direct feedback from a partner(s) or from a person(s) served.
Our collaborations with the Sioux City Public Library continue to bear fruit. Both Check It Out, the weekly broadcast, and the First Fifty Pages, our bi-monthly podcast, have gained listenership and have stirred interest in reading in the community. Books highlighted on these platforms are checked out more frequently after having been mentioned, and the library has made efforts to create displays using the Check It Out branding.
At the “traditional coffee roasting event” held with the Mary Treglia Community House, we not only helped to highlight the cultural diversity of our community, but we gave people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to connect in a positive environment. Guests remarked that they felt both a better awareness of our community’s makeup and an optimism for the future of our community. For the “vendors,” it was regarded as a chance to introduce people to traditions and offer a glimpse of their lives. People shared contact information across cultural boundaries and had a moment to close the gaps that we frequently see in day-to-day social settings.
Following our increased efforts to highlight local politics and elections this year, including hosting publicly accessible forums, the voter turnout nearly doubled in our municipal elections this year - for school board and city council. Not all credit can go to us, but in a review of market coverage, we were the change from years past, adding coverage and accessibility.
4. Please describe any efforts (e.g. programming, production, engagement activities) you have made to investigate and/or meet the needs of minority and other diverse audiences (including, but not limited to, new immigrants, people for whom English is a second language and illiterate adults) during Fiscal Year 2019, and any plans you have made to meet the needs of these audiences during Fiscal Year 2020. If you regularly broadcast in a language other than English, please note the language broadcast.
Siouxland Public Media has the longest running Spanish language music program in our community, Frontera Sur. Generations of Spanish speaking Siouxlanders have tuned in to hear DJ Tapatio spin music from eight to midnight on Sunday evenings. Overnights, our programming turns to Radio Bilingue, where listeners can hear music and news broadcast in English and Spanish.
We Are Not A Monolith, a Siouxland Public Media podcast, is the region’s only platform hosted and produced by african-american people. In the past year, Ike and Shelby have focused on topics such as Kwanzaa and Martin Luther King Day, and they have hosted two presidential candidates.
As we continue production of Frontera Sur and We Are Not a Monolith, we are investigating ways of reaching further into the diversity of our community. One plan in the works is to distribute local news in languages other than English. Nearly 20% of the population of Sioux City speaks a language other than English, yet there are no daily sources of local, non-English news, which disenfranchises a large percent of our population. In addition to translated news, through our Community Advisory Board, we are looking at ways to better connect with underserved, often excluded, populations in our community, such as the growing population of Somali-Americans.
5. Please assess the impact that your CPB funding had on your ability to serve your community. What were you able to do with your grant that you wouldn't be able to do if you didn't receive it?
Siouxland Public Media could not exist without CPB funding. We broadcast in a rural market where the average household income is approximately $43,000. Many of the communities we reach have populations below 1000 people. Without us, they would not have access to an unbiased news source with a mission to report on local issues. The culture of declaring news as “fake news,” of seeing all media as an enemy, would have no response if we weren’t here, or if we were to be replaced by an outlet that simply repeats national news, or, even, state news. Our grant from the CPB, which allows us to exist, is one of the last defenses for a society that needs to find its faith in civil debate.
Because of the CPB grant, we are able to host civil debates and civil discussions. We are able to bring people from all walks of life to a common table where they are not representatives of an abstract philosophy. At our table, we are neighbors who share a common interest in bettering our home. Because of the grant, we are able to celebrate the music and culture fomenting locally, helping those who live here to enjoy a greater quality of life. We are able to purchase programming that meets the highest standards of journalism, programming that reveals the diversity of our country, celebrates its ideas, illuminates its history, and reveals its opportunities. The CPB grant allows for the voices of the world’s great scientists, authors, entrepreneurs, artists, and thinkers to be heard by folks living in towns with only a grain elevator and, possibly, a gas station. It allows us to connect with each other and the world around us.
Because of CPB funding, strategies are considered in terms of how we can best serve everyone, not just one particular demographic. And as our community is forever in flux, relying heavily on immigration to build a workforce, such strategizing is essential, as is the need for a media outlet that purposes to serve all. In the absence of such stations, the already difficult task of bringing people together, solidifying a sense of community, is made nearly impossible. And because the greatest asset to any community is its people, the inability to best bring them together is devastating. But with a station that allows hope of community, the future is brighter.
Please Find KWIT-KOJI's Most Recent Annual Financial Report Below.