Editor’s Scratchpad

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Sameness rules
the airwaves

While Honolulu's newspapers are duking it out, isle radio stations are largely in a cozy, no-compete business arrangement.

Clear Channel owns top-rated KSSK, plus KDNN, KIKI, KUCD and KHVH and KHBZ. Right on their heels is Cox, with KINE, KCCN, KRTR and KXME, and then New Wave, with KPOI, KQMQ, KDDB, and KORL. These owners have dozens more stations on the mainland.

Three owners; 14 top stations. With the airwaves dominated this way, program "managers" can leaven formats into ear-numbing sameness and whack talented staff, knowing there's nowhere for radio personalities to turn unless they want to leave town.

No wonder it's so difficult to find a station worth listening to, or different enough to distinguish it from the others. There's only one flavor on the airwaves, and it's vanilla.

--Burl Burlingame

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