Awards News

Jody Heemstra Receives 2021 Tom Brokaw Award

Jody Heemstra, News and Farm Director for Dakota Radio Group, Pierre, SD was honored as the recipient of the 2021 Tom Brokaw Award by the South Dakota Broadcasters Association (SDBA) at their State Leadership Conference held July 29-30, at the Hotel Alex Johnson, Rapid City, SD.

The Tom Brokaw Award is presented annually in a cooperative effort between the SDBA and the Department of Media and Journalism at the University of South Dakota (USD).  The first recipient of the award was former news anchor Tom Brokaw in 1981.

The award is given in recognition of excellence in broadcasting in the areas of electronic journalism (on or off-air involvements) and public affairs to an individual who is a native of South Dakota, educated in South Dakota, or has made a significant contribution to South Dakota broadcasting.

Jody received her degree in Agricultural Journalism at SDSU in 1998.  She began her 22-year career while still in college, producing the Dakota Ag Newsline at SDSU in the late 90s.   She was assistant news director, then farm director for KWAT/KIXX/KDLO Radio in Watertown for 13 years.  She was a farm broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network from 2013-2015, and after that worked as public relations director for the SD Department of Agriculture for several years.  Jody has been with DRG Media Group since 2017, and has devoted much of her career to agricultural broadcasting and has had a significant impact in rural radio.

Jody is a longtime member and served on the board of directors for the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.  She was a member of the South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (SDARL) Class Five.  Jody’s accomplishments have included awards and honors from the Associated Press, the National Association of Farm Broadcasters, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, the South Dakota Farmers Union, the FFA and the South Dakota Pork Producers.

The SD Broadcasters Association is a membership organization that represents South Dakota’s radio and television stations.  It provides education, legislative and regulatory assistance to its member stations, and in cooperation with those stations, provides community service to South Dakota.

Dr. Michelle Van Maanen, Chair, USD Media & Journalism Department presents the Tom Brokaw Award to Jody Heemstra, DRG Media.

Jody Heemstra addresses South Dakota Broadcasters at a Luncheon in Sioux Falls.