Sheboygan County’s Only Hmong Radio Program Signs Off
By Mary Motiska, Special Projects Coordinator for the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC)
Sheboygan County, WI – Today marks the end of Sheboygan County’s only Hmong radio program, hosted on WSHS 91.7. Xia Vue Yang, DJ, and founder of the program has decided to end his on-air tenure after dedicating 37 years as a volunteer radio DJ for the Hmong American citizens in Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties.
Since 1982, Yang has been instrumental in bridging the language and communication gap that exists for Sheboygan County’s Hmong American citizens which, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, accounts for 4,100 citizens, putting it fourth in Wisconsin for Hmong populations. As a child who grew up in the Sheboygan area with Hmong immigrant parents myself, I can recall looking forward to the weekly radio show hosted by Yang.
The broadcast took place every Thursday from 4:30 PM to 10 PM. During the five-and-a-half-hour show, he covered a variety of subjects to entertain and educate his loyal listeners. Subject matters included current events, the importance of Hmong family values and traditions, community announcements and employment opportunities, health and wellness, and a variety of Hmong music, all delivered with his unique storytelling. His regular guests included Lakeland University President Dr. David Black, who stated, “Vue Yang has been a voice of practical wisdom for more than his 37 years on the radio. He can, in the least three languages, call us all to a common table. We can “see” such a table at the Union International Market and “hear” its invitation on the radio. That table offers the real meat and drink of vision for the future, mutual trust and support, understanding of freedom and difference, and the promise of economic freedom. We are all in his debt. I am privileged to call him “friend”.”
Along with Black, representatives from Lakeshore Technical College, the Sheboygan Area School District, local employers, chief of police Christopher Domagalski, congressmen and senators, former Mayors as well as present Mayor Mike Vandersteen, and various local organizations and services including the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation were also regular guests on his weekly radio broadcast.
To Yang, he saw a disconnect and simply did what was needed to communicate information and provide entertainment. To Sheboygan County and the Hmong population, he was much more. He understood early on that in order to adapt to the changing demographics within our communities, we needed to have active and on-going communication and work hard at building bridges. Neng Kao Yang, a devoted listener states, “you get used to hearing from Yang every week including updates from the community leaders so it will be a big loss. It’s become an important chunk in our week so now that it’s come to an end, information in my own language will be harder to reach.”
“Yang’s passion for this community, command of involvedness, and devotion had been exemplary. His program will truly be missed by his audience,” stated Joe Sheehan, Executive Director of the Sheboygan County Economic Corporation. “Yang has made a difference.”
As Special Projects Coordinator for the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation, I had the honor and privilege to have been a regular guest on his program, covering community updates and developments, employment opportunities, entrepreneurship services, and local economic news. My experience with the program got me to reflect on Yang's mission and that is, despite an ever-evolving and innovative culture where our world seems much smaller and life gets more hectic, he remained true to his roots as a cultural gateway for his listeners and fans everywhere.
“For the past 37 years, I have made the Sheboygan Hmong Radio to be the eyes, ears, and voice for the Hmong refugees to become successful Americans,” says Yang. Yang lives by his favorite philosophy that in life, “if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, then you feed him for a lifetime.” “To my listeners, thank you for inviting me into your homes and making me a part of your day each week, “ stated Yang.
Mayor Vandersteen has announced a Proclamation for Yang and declared August 29 as Xia Vue Yang Day in the City of Sheboygan. “I extend my deepest appreciation to Xia Vue Yang for his persistence in his 37 years of dedication to the Hmong community. His efforts to connect people to their local resources has been positive over the years,” states Mayor Vandersteen.
Yang is dedicated to locating a volunteer to transition this radio program to. If you are interested or would like to learn more, please contact Yang or me for further information.
About Xia Vue Yang:
Yang is a chemical engineer by training and obtained his master’s degree in Chemical Engineering in 1977 from the French engineering school Institut National Des Sciences Appliqués de Lyon. Xia Vue Yang and his family then moved to Sheboygan in 1981 to join his parents, and he continued to work as a chemical engineer with Ametek, later known as Pentair Water Treatment. During his employment with Pentair, Yang acquired five US patents for the design of water filtration systems for residential and commercial applications which were marketed and sold throughout the world.
You can also pay him a visit at the Union International Market on Union Ave. which he has run with his wife for the past 37 years. Yang and his wife Pa together have four children.
Mary Motiska, Special Projects Coordinator
Sheboygan County Economic Corporation
508 New York Ave. Room 209
Sheboygan WI, 53081
Xia Vue Yang
The Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) is a countywide private/public partnership, leading economic development efforts to improve the economic wellbeing and long-term prosperity of the businesses, residents, and communities of Sheboygan County, through collaborative retention, expansion and attraction efforts for business and employment development. The SCEDC leverages a variety of tools available to encourage business growth and job creation. Key performance indicators tapped by SCEDC track and measure businesses assisted and resources leveraged. By applying many tools to assist businesses and communities and help them succeed, SCEDC achieves increased economic prosperity for Sheboygan County.