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Community Broadcaster Confronts Coronavirus

A Q&A with Kongsue Xiong of Asian American Broadcasting in Minnesota

Kongsue Xiong, KFXN
Kongsue Xiong

Kongsue Xiong is the owner of Asian American Broadcasting, licensee of KFXN(AM) in Minneapolis. It is heavily involved with local Laotian immigrants and citizens of Hmong descent.

In this Q&A he discusses how the station is approaching the coronavirus, especially in providing timely and useful information to its listeners. He was interviewed by Suzanne Gougherty, director of MMTC Media and Telecom Brokers at the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council. MMTC commentaries appear regularly in Radio World, which welcomes other points of view on industry issues.

Suzanne Gougherty: What has your station been doing to keep Hmong listeners informed during the continued pandemic?

Kongsue Xiong: KFXN has invited Minnesota attorney general, health department experts, and other city officials come to talk about the governor’s executive orders, health regulations, and many other issues related to the pandemic which is dangerous for the Hmong community.

Gougherty: Have you been doing any live interviews with health officials in your community?

Xiong: KFXN has invited many medical doctors and other health officials from the city come to talk about the COVID-19, what is it, how to prevent it, and what to do if you get infected.

[Read: MMTC Seeks Donated Gear for Broadcaster Hit by Protest]

Gougherty: What special news coverage have you been airing during the coronavirus outbreak?

Xiong: KFXN is a minority news source agency, we went after the major news outlets such as, ABC, CNN, KMSP(TV), KARE(TV), and international news organizations that are reliable news sources. Also we had daily updates locally and nationally what is happening so the Hmong community we serve was kept informed, this practice is ongoing.

Gougherty: Have most of your clients continued to support you during this difficult period?

Xiong: KFXN is having a difficult time keeping all of our clients because many advertising agencies and businesses are not totally open because of the state response to the pandemic.

Gougherty: What is your message to your audience regarding COVID-19?

Xiong: KFXN is constantly trying to educate the community about health issues, social distancing, and how to obtain resources that are available locally and how to reach out to help others. It is a difficult time for everyone but we have to deal with it carefully and seriously.

Gougherty: Have you been securing political advertising revenue for the next election?

Xiong: KFXN doesn’t have or get any political advertising at the moment.

Gougherty: What do you see as the new normal for your station operations since the pandemic?

Xiong: KFXN is a vital resource to help the Hmong community and especially the elderly to cope with their stress and make them feel more connected and alive each day. Our programming to our community is a great source of hope, and our audience knows that we are of reliable place for news and information, plus entertainment. We will continue this practice well after the pandemic.