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Jenn and Kim Breaking Stereotypes

Ivy Jenn and Prisca Kim in the studio. Photo by Joanna Silverman.

Every Friday evening from 9 to 10 p.m., friends and co-hosts Prisca Kim and Ivy Jenn, both ’16, can be found in the KDIC radio booth, broadcasting discussions, banter and music to enlighten the Grinnell community.

Kim and Jenn started “Breaking Stereotypes” at the beginning of this year. The pair, both from the Los Angeles area, became friends as first-years and occasionally discussed starting a radio show, but neither really expected it to become a reality.

“It’s one of those things where you say, ‘Ah, it’s not going to happen,’ but second-year rolled around and we filled out the app and it ended up happening,” Jenn said.

The vision of the show has developed and changed as the year has progressed.

“It initially started [where we thought] we should talk about Asian-American stereotypes in culture and in music,” Kim said. “So some of the artists we like to feature on our show are YouTube artists who are Asian-American and who technically aren’t ‘famous famous.’” Contemporary Asian music also features prominently in weekly playlists, from K-pop and C-pop (Korean and Chinese pop music) to Taiwanese folk and rap music. The hosts say they typically aim for an even balance of English and non-English language music.

While Asian and Asian-American cultures are featured prominently on any given night, both hosts agree that the scope has broadened—both musically and topically.

“Definitely, the show has grown to where we’re … trying to bring exposure to multiculturalism,” Jenn said. “We don’t want to just focus on Asian music.”

As a result, airtime is given to diverse suggestions by friends and, especially, to Taylor Swift, who is generally a staple.

This new focus on multiculturalism is also reflected in their on-air guests, who are invited into the booth every few weeks.

“We make sure to pick friends from different cultural backgrounds and … different states,” Jenn said. “We basically just have them come in and discuss their background, how they grew up, their family and how [Grinnell] has impacted them.”

Another important aspect of the show is the live banter between the hosts about relevant cultural topics.

“We talk about how Asian-American people are portrayed in television series as well as in movies. … We do talk a lot about the artists that we’ll feature …  about how their upbringing was, and what parts are relevant to how we grew up,” Kim said.

Both hosts are proud of their regular segments. There is a regular “Crush of the Week” chat, as well as a round of what they refer to as “creative covers”—generally, the two performing duets from the Disney musical comedy “Frozen.” The show isn’t tied to any particular structure, however.

“There’s more talking and segments than music most weeks, and then a lot of times we’ll have prepared playlists, and based on our discussions, we’ll be like, ‘ooh, let’s play that song.’ So very loose-form, I guess,” Kim said.

In addition to hosting Breaking Stereotypes, Kim and Jenn are the co-founders and leaders of Grinnell’s American Sign Language club.

“The commonality between American Sign Language and our show on KDIC is probably because we’re not experts on any of these fields. We started these projects so we could get better and learn alongside our peers,” Jenn said.

Going forward, the duo hopes to host the show in the future and to expand their reach and the show’s scope.

“A goal would be to have more listener interaction, via Twitter, if we’re discussing something on-air,” Kim said.

Both are eager to break their record for online listeners, which currently stands at 13.

“One of my goals is to bring more people onto the show. We’ve been focusing on student voices, but I think it would be really great if we could invite members of the faculty,” Jenn said.

For cultural dialogue, banter and eclectic music, Breaking Stereotypes airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on 88.5 FM or through the KDIC website.

Prisca Kim is Copy Editor for the S&B.

Ivy Jenn and Prisca Kim in the studio. Photo by Joanna Silverman.
Ivy Jenn and Prisca Kim in the studio. Photo by Joanna Silverman.
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