Friday, March 28, 2003

Hawaii People’s Pulse
poll pilots a path
to public television

OmniTrak Group Inc. wanted a larger audience for its People's Pulse poll, now entering its fourth year. It hooked up with Communications-Pacific Inc. and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday fruits of the combined labors will be aired on PBS Hawaii for all to see.

Sponsored by the Hawaii Business Roundtable, Pacific Resource Partnership and Enterprise Honolulu, the poll determines, and the show will explore, issues that are most important to Hawaii residents. The show is a pilot that may go quarterly. It will focus on charter schools, tax incentives for business and government regulation.

The poll started because, "there was a gap between resident expectations of policymakers and the priorities that policymakers were addressing," said Pat Loui, president of OmniTrak. At the time the economy was tops in the minds of residents but other -- lower -- priorities were the focus of legislation, she said.

The show won't be two people, a table and a potted palm, Loui said.

"On the other hand it is unlike the confrontational, 'Crossfire' type of public affairs show. Our objective is to try and discuss openly some of the options that are available for solutions. While we are not advocating specific solutions, there can be healthy discussion of what can be done to come toward a healthy resolution of the issues," Loui said.

"The Hawaii community is good at bonding but not at bridging," she said. The show is "a vehicle for dialogue we hope will eventually bridge points of view."

Many of those involved in the production are highly active in political circles, but Loui and Comm-Pac Vice President Ann Botticelli, show's moderator, say there is no agenda.

Anybody can suggest questions for People's Pulse, Loui said, by contacting the sponsoring organizations. "It really goes to the sponsors, then we sit down to help to design the questions."

Botticelli likened the program to old-fashioned journalism.

Articulate panelists can provide the viewer with understanding of everything involved in an issue the show is covering, Botticelli said.

"You put the issues out, talk about different points of view and let the viewers draw their own conclusions," she said. "Our aim is not to take a position one way or the other."

The pilot will repeat at 9 a.m. April 12, according to Kalowena Komeiji, PBS Hawaii community relations director.

"We go statewide and we serve communities that are not served by some of the networks," she said. For instance, PBS Hawaii reaches Hana, Kau and South Point, communities that need to be reached with these kinds of timely programs, she said.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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