Britt-based disc jockey company, Mojo Productions, is positively impacting area communities as well as communities far beyond north central Iowa. Mojo was recently awarded the Fort Dodge Messenger’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Award for best DJ service for the seventh straight year.
Primary owners, husband and wife Jared and Katie Wingert, said that the best part about this award is being judged solely for their work, with wedding couples and with communities that stretch across Iowa and beyond. They said their incredible staff, vendors, and the people that they serve have made them who they are today.
“We definitely focus on weddings as far as what our business is known for, however we are huge into being a part of communities and giving back,” Katie said. “We are actually chamber members for Mason City, Clear Lake, Garner, Britt of course, Clarion, Algona, Emmetsburg, Fort Dodge, and still do many things in the town of Humboldt even though they no longer have a chamber.”
Jared founded Mojo Productions DJ Services in 1999 after filling in as a DJ at a Fort Dodge event in the same year.
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“I played in a band named Spooky Mojo,” Jared said. “Guys got married and had kids, but we still get together. Being in bands and playing music was all I knew. I literally just jumped up there and learned (to DJ). You need to be able to make people happy.”
To say the business has grown substantially ever since that time would be an understatement. There are currently 11 core Mojo disc jockeys, including Jared and Katie, as well as two assistants. Katie described it as amazing.
“We work very closely with so many other companies in Iowa,” Katie said. “Jared is personally very involved with the town. He started a car show that now brings 500-plus vehicles to the town (multiple times a year) and he always works with the local uptown businesses to bring in revenue.”
“The Britt Car Truck Bike Tractor Night Cruise, that’s our thing,” Jared said. “It’s a way to see brides and grooms and bring interest and dollars into town. When I first started, I was a college guy playing music for college kids, being a DJ in between gigs. In my late 20s and early 30s, I had a business partner whose father passed away. I had to buy out the other guy and realized I wanted to do it full-time. It literally never stops. It’s not a job. It’s a different lifestyle, but I love what I do.”
Mojo staff works about 180 weddings annually, traveling throughout the state to help brides and grooms celebrate their big day. In addition, they help with so many other special events and benefits. They have helped the City of Forest City with its annual Christmas celebration by providing music and announcements. Jared has also helped other communities with their car shows, which all seem to now be gaining in popularity.
Earlier this year, Katie and Alissa Kirsch, who has an ownership interest in Mojo, were both featured in Women's Inc. magazine. They discussed the work they do as disc jockeys. Mojo was also named Best of the Best 2021 by the knot.com wedding website.
In the magazine article, Katie notes how she believes in helping people whether it is with their wedding, her job at the hospital, or somewhere else. She said that it is a blessing. She says her favorite quote is attributed to Henry Ford as follows: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”
“Both Katie and Alissa are involved in healthcare, which seems to provide them a certain aspect of taking care of people," Jared said. "They are used to seeing people at their worst. All three of us help run things here.”
Katie also has a gift for her role of coordinating events at Mojo. She describes herself as an over-the-top organizer. She began her DJ career in 2008 when Jared pointed out that she is a natural wedding planner. She describes herself as the biggest wedding nerd anyone will ever meet.
“Giving back is our heart and soul,” Katie said. “Jared and I are very giving people and we know what it is like to go without, so we try to be involved in as many things possible. Whether it be a benefit to help raise money for a family in need, Santa's workshop, or being a part of school functions to help raise money, we donate our time and play music every year at four or five different towns for Halloween trunk-or-treat for the kids.”
Another example is the Wingerts and Damon Baker, who have worked as a DJ for Mojo, bringing free pizzas for all healthcare workers and staff at Hancock County Health System Memorial Hospital (MercyOne) as well as Britt and Garner medical clinics multiple times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Katie is a Mason City native, who is also a respiratory therapist with MercyOne. Of course, the pizzas come from Titanium Lunchbox in Britt where Baker, his wife Karin, and their son Josh run the restaurant.
Mojo disc jockeys have been at a number of events warranting local news coverage, including this year’s Nov. 6-7 holiday crafts and vendor show in Forest City and last year’s cancer benefit fundraiser for Mark Fandel, also in Forest City.
“We play music for the youth center's inflatable fun days in Mason City and go all the way to Fort Dodge for their domestic violence fundraiser that we are a part of every year,” Katie said. “Jared, in particular, is well known for knowing everybody, everywhere. He always makes a personal connection no matter where he is, or what event he is doing. I am proud of what Jared has built with his business. He has worked very hard to get to where he is today.”
Mojo Productions DJ Service is located at 313 6th Avenue S.E. Britt, but also added an office in Mason City about seven years ago.
“The neat thing is that we are able to hire guys that are amazing DJs,” Jared said. “It went from fun DJ guy in college to wedding receptions, ceremonies, and special effects. Now, we get to give back to the community and have our own events. We have all the tools to create, promote, provide production, and make an event successful ourselves.”
As for the most recent award, Jared said the whole Mojo crew is humbled and honored. The Fort Dodge Messenger has a large readership area that covers much of the western half of Iowa.
“We do not ever ask people to vote for us,” Wingert said. “None of us voted. It is just really special.”
Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.