KHBC, Hilo’s original radio station is off the air. It was a shock to the many listeners on the East side of the Big Island of Hawai’i. KHBC began its broadcast back in 1936 and despite station name changes over the years, 1060 AM on the radio band has always been known as KHBC. The radio station shut down was due to the poor economic environment. Actually, there were a total of three related stations that went dark besides KHBC, the Kona affiliate and KIPA.
Click on the above picture to see pictures of KHBC’s studios and personalities.
Recently, KHBC’s format was moved to the FM Band, 92.1 Hilo, and 92.1 Kona. The AM 1060 stations call letter was changed to KIPA. From a personal point of view, I think the reformat actually killed the stations.
Seven employees were laid off by the stations, which broadcast an eclectic mix of music in Hilo at 92.7 FM and 1060 AM, and in Kona on 92.1 FM. In addition to Mynah Bird — whose real name is Mel Medeiros — and Randy Parker, those pink-slipped include Kona personality Tommy Kahikina Ching, aka the “Polynesian Pirate,” and Brad “B. Free” Freeman, the station’s program director and an on-air personality.
I listened to the Mynah Bird program every morning, from 6AM to 10AM, during my work hours. The popular “Buy, Sell, and Trade” portion of the programming by Mel Medeiros, was a valuable public service. People would write in, fax, and call the program with items they were either selling or looking for. On the weekends, Randy Parker’s 10AM to 2PM program was enjoyable for presenting classic Hawaiian music.
However, other personalities presented a format that I often found myself switching the channel. Maybe that’s why the station wasn’t being successful. Which ever the case may be, this will be a huge hole in radio listening on the Big Island. The station’s website tells a lot about the music format.
When the radio station first began its broadcast back in the 1936, singer Vicki I’i Rodrigues wrote the famous KHBC song which today is still very popular with Hawaiian musicians. From a civil defense point of view, KHBC was a great source of news and information. This public service will be severely missed. In addition to valuable information, KHBC performed many charitable services on the Big Island like organizing donations for the Hawaiian Food Bank. Big Island Video News Stephanie Salazar, who was also with KHBC, reports here.
Listen to the Original KHBC Radio Call Letters
It’s like losing a friend that you grew up with. KHBC will be sorely missed. Before the demise of KHBC, there were signs of problems. Dead air would plague the programming at times. Even the coveted drive home hours where Tommy “Kahikina” Ching ruled was littered with programming errors.
The 1060AM Station, renamed from KHBC to KIPA, started broadcasting an afternoon conservative talk radio format featuring the Mark Liven Show. This was promising because it filled a void of a much needed opinion radio on the Big Island. The popular AM690 KHNR on O’Ahu broadcasts many Conservative talk radio personalities, and I believe that would have saved KHBC, or at least KIPA, because many people on the Big Island within the broadcast range of KIPA, were listening.
What’s For Dinner?
Hawaiian Style Poke