Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

Background: KSMQ Public Television serves all or part of 26 counties in southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa. While primarily rural with a rich agricultural history, our viewing area includes the mid-sized city of Rochester (population 121, 465) and the smaller communities in Minnesota of Austin, Owatonna, Mankato, Albert Lea as well as Mason City, Iowa whose combined population totals just under 143,000. Based on the 2020 U.S. Census our coverage area includes approximately 705,000 people. 

Our region is home to many diverse ethnicities and people of color make up approximately 9% of our viewing area. Hispanics comprise the largest minority group regionally at 6% with Black/African Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders each representing a 3% share of the population. 

Within the KSMQ viewing area, 29% of households have children under the age of 18, matching the average for the state of Minnesota. Iowa’s average is slightly higher with 31% of all households including a person under the age of 18. 

In general, the U.S. population is getting older, and Minnesota is no exception. In 2000, 12.1% of the state population was over 65. Today, the median population for the same group makes up 16.6% of Minnesota’s population. Iowa’s population of 65+ residents is slightly higher at 17.5%. The general aging of these populations is driven by Baby Boomers who continue to be the largest segment of our national population. KSMQ’s viewing area in southeastern Minnesota is slightly older than the state average at 19.9% of our region’s population.  While U.S. born population is forecasted to decline over the next decade, increased immigration may play a role in increasing the national population overall.

Diversity and inclusiveness throughout KSMQ Public Television are important for the success of our organization.  We are stronger, more credible, and more effective when our board of directors, regional advisory committee, management, and staff include qualified individuals with backgrounds, cultures and traditions that are varied and reflect our region’s diversity. 

We are committed to fostering an environment where all staff, volunteers and members of the public are treated with respect, dignity, and equality. Our diversity policy is designed to support our mission of providing high-quality public television programming and services that both reflect the diversity of our viewing area and amplify the voices of marginalized and underserved groups.

Recruitment and Retention

KSMQ Public Television is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. KSMQ will also provide ongoing training and development opportunities for staff to promote diversity and inclusion that will include topics such as harassment, implicit bias, cultural competency, and anti-racism.

Programming and Services

KSMQ is committed to providing content and services that respond to the educational, cultural, and informational needs of the diverse population within our community. We will work to create partnerships with community leaders and organizations to ensure that we are providing programming and services that meet the needs and interests of our diverse audiences.

Board and Regional Advisory Council

KSMQ is committed to having a Board of Directors and Regional Advisory Committee that represents the diversity of the communities we serve. When recruiting potential new members for the Board or RAC, KSMQ will strive for diversity of membership by race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity.

KSMQ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion FY2023 Review

Staff & Management: 

  • KSMQ provided harassment & bias prevention training for all staff & management through Everfi.
  • KSMQ followed all EEO policies for hiring two positions, Chief Engineer and Master Control Operator.  Opportunities were posted on multiple hiring platforms to receive a diverse selection of candidates.  Multiple candidates were interviewed for the Master Control Operator position.  Only one candidate was interviewed for the Chief Engineer position as only one applicant applied for the position. 

KSMQ has been successful in maintaining gender, socio-economic and age diversity, but has not made any progress on growing ethnic diversity amongst its staff & management.  Part of this is due to the limited availability of open job opportunities throughout the past year, and the limited number of applicants for those positions that were available. 

Programming & Production: 

  • Sixteen of the twenty-one episodes of R-Town featured conversations, stories or segments featuring members of our BIPOC or protected class communities. 
  • Off90, Farm Connections, and OnQ also featured multiple segments throughout the year featuring conversations with members of our BIPOC or protected class communities. 
  • Continued to feature national programing that amplified the voices of our underserved communities on our 15.1HD channel. 

KSMQ continued in its mission to amplify the voices of our BIPOC and underserved communities by offering national programing and station produced content that highlight the issues facing these communities, as well as featuring businesses and organizations owned or operated by protected-class persons.

Board of Directors and Regional Advisory Committee: 

  • Added two new female members to the KSMQ Board of Directors, and one new female member to our Regional Advisory Committee (RAC). 
  • Three males and one female member of the board of directors dropped off due to term limits or resigned over the course of FY23.  The RAC committee did not lose any members over FY23. 
  • As of the end of FY23 the board consists of four female board members and five males.  The RAC consists of three female and three male members. 
  • One member of board of directors identifies as non-Caucasian/White, while all members of the RAC identify as Caucasian/White.

KSMQ’s efforts for our board of directors and RAC have been successful in maintaining gender, socio-economic, lived experience, age and geographic diversity, but have not made progress on growing ethnic diversity in the past fiscal year.  We need to do better on reflecting the diversity of our community and are committed to working more diligently in this area of recruitment going forward. 

Contracted Services:

  • KSMQ utilizes a number of independent contractors that identify as BIPOC or protected class persons for production work in areas of freelance film professionals, hosts, and producers.
  • KSMQ follows internal policies requiring multiple bids for outside office services, and actively seeks bidding from businesses owned by BIPOC or protected class persons when hiring out for services.
  • KSMQ partners with sheltered workshop organizations for office services when possible.

FY2024 Goals:

After reviewing KSMQ’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion policy and 3-year progress report, the KSMQ board of directors has developed the following goals for the next fiscal year.

  • Work with Workforce Development & Riverland Community College to identify internship opportunities within the station. 
  • Focus on recruiting diverse candidates from around our entire viewing area for the KSMQ board of directors and RAC committee with a goal of recruiting at least four new members to the KSMQ board of directors that meet two or more of the diverse classifications.
  • KSMQ station and staff become involved in diversity related events like Taste of Nations in Austin, Albert Lea or Rochester.
  • Continue to seek out diverse contacts for bids when contracting out projects or for office service needs.
  • Contact Volunteers of America and work on building our volunteer base.