Not surprisingly, there’s turmoil on island radio as broadcast figures were abruptly released earlier this week with scanty warning. This kind of bleep happens often, so Summit Media’s decision to erase the blackboard and start anew is part of the heartbeat of radio.
Tweaking the programming seems to be one of the reasons, though staff reduction and cutbacks can be logically linked to the pandemic, which has businesses trying to balance the book.
And yes, listeners comfortable to tuning in to the voices they hear while breezing along the freeways get huhu about change. It might be rude to say it, but bosses and businesses have little respect and mana’o for valued and dedicated employees. This wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
That’s why there’s a mounting number of Facebook postings about the release of a handful of staff, without the customary two-weeks notice. One day you’re in, next day you’re out. Call it what it is: mass firings.
Billy V, a broadcast voice and face since 1990, whose lone Saturday afternoon slot has been abolished on Hawaiian 105 KINE, was informed by phone of his termination. He previously was an on-air personality on KCCN FM 100 and Hawaiian 105 for nearly 30 years, but longevity didn’t matter.
“I was privileged to work with Hawaii’s best, many of whom have become my radio family,” said Billy V. “As this transition takes place, I am hopeful that the value of Hawaiian 105 KINE and KCCN FM 100 are known to the current owners. The music of our islands, contemporary and traditional, is second to none.”
Perhaps more critically, Danielle Tucker, the voice of island traffic, has been wiped out of Summit’s stations, leaving a void of key and informative public service during morning and afternoon commuter. She provides quick, accurate reports of traffic movement, including accidents, a role she will continue on Hawaii News Now (KGMB and KHON) during afternoon drive. But radio is key for traffic scrutiny because it happens in real time, not TV. I mean, do you rely on radio at home, unless there’s a hurricane coming or a tidal wave alert?
In island radio, morning drive is key to a station’s popularity and advertising power. Most people tune in to radio en route to work or school, so that is why Michael W. Perry reigns in the ratings, a “trend” that started in the KGMB/KSSK era when J. Akuhead Pupule (Hal Lewis) built a following inherited when Perry teamed up with Larry Price to continue the KSSK dominance.
Since no one prints or monitors radio ratings anymore, Perry cruises at the perch. Truly, is KSSK the No. 1 station? Where are the Arbitron numbers of the past? Does it matter, since you listen to what you like?
Perry is not part of the Summit lineup – Hawaiian 105, KCCN FM 100, Power 1043 and Krater 95 – but he competes with other announcers to retain the crown. Radio, like TV (think Hawaii News Now, aka KGMB and KHON), has become a “group” commodity, where multi stations function under one owner. That’s why when there’s a sweep of talent, more than one are shown the exit door.
Billy V is a TV journalist now, so his reactionary blogs are informative, not argumentative.
In one posting, he said Patti Ponimoi will be general manager, and Micah Banks will be programming director, adding a comment from Randy Chase, executive vice president of Summit Media, who said the stations are “committed to Hawaii and serving the Honolulu community. While we recently made some difficult business decisions, I can assure our listeners and advertisers that we are not changing the format of any station in our cluster. More so than ever, we will continue the tradition of Hawaiian music and celebrate the culture on FM100 KCCN and Hawaiian 105 KINE.”
The question is, why fix it if it’s not broken? We’ll have to wait and see what evolves.
The portals of Hawaiian radio have featured a host of dedicated announcers, including Krash Kealoha, Kimo Kahoano, Skylark Rossetti, Iaukea Bright, Randy Hudnall, Donovan Solto, Mele Apana, and Harry B. Soria Jr.
Tucker, who has been doing traffic reports two decades, said in her post: “I won’t be able to communicate traffic conditions to you over the radio. I’m no longer employed by the radio station group I’d been with for 20 years. I’m not the only one released, and that takes some sting out of it, but the suddenness is jarring.”
Indeed, but she functioned in her own sphere, reliably reporting the doings on the road, but when a station does housekeeping, it sweeps out some valuables. Tucker is one of those media gems…
And that’s Show Biz. …