Actor/director turned Maui radio station owner Ivan Dixon has sold KONI-FM for $1.15 million to a relatively new isle broadcaster and publishing company principal.
Negotiations have been "hot and heavy" for about the last six months, said George Hochman, president of Hochman Hawaii One Inc. and Hochman Hawaii Publishing Inc. The companies will do business as H. Hawaii Media.
Dixon left the islands in ill health about a year ago and was unavailable for comment.
KONI's Web site, which offered streaming programming, is down for redesign, according to Jim Carroll, vice president of H. Hawaii Media's Maui operations. Hochman owns two other radio stations, Kauai's 99.9 KTOH-FM and 98.9 KITH-FM as well as the Kauai and Maui franchises for The Real Estate Book and statewide distribution rights for Travelhost magazine. The radio stations cross-promote the publications and Hochman hopes to expand his broadcast and publishing business over time.
According to Carroll, the Travelhost visitor information magazine reaches 75 markets nationwide, while The Real Estate Book has a distribution of 895 million copies in 600 markets. "We just launched Kauai and we'll launch on Maui as soon as I get settled in," he said.
KITH airs Hawaiian music, visitor industry information and news by Al Taylor, who also does news for KTOH. The latter, known as Hits 99, airs an oldies format similar to the new format on KONI, which kicked off on Thursday. The new sister station "logged something like 60 calls during morning drive," Carroll said, "the phones were ringing off the hook."
Hochman retained KONI's three employees; Paul Douglas, program director and morning host; Joe King, afternoon-drive host; and account executive Rhoda Ohashi. They've been joined by General Sales Manager Kevin Lawrence, formerly with Clear Channel in Honolulu.
Back-office functions for the Maui stations will be done on Kauai, and so will some on-air work. Shelly Cobb and Scott Johnson, respective morning- and afternoon-drive hosts at KTOH, will voicetrack shows for KONI. KTOH's mid-day show is hosted by Hochman: "He's a 25-year radio veteran," said Carroll. The remainder of the stations programming will be automated.
Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
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Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached