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TheBuzz

Erika Engle

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


New Kauai TV station
is really radio with pictures



CORRECTION

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2003

>> TheBuzz column on Page C1 yesterday incorrectly gave the old frequency for KORL-AM, 650. Its present frequency is 690.



The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at fbridgewater@starbulletin.com.

Former California TV weatherman Jeff Chang is realizing his dream of station ownership with a television station that he operates as a radio station.

Huh?

Chang fired up a low-power TV station at the beginning of the year. Its call sign is K06NC, but he has named the station "Coast-FM." It is broadcast over Kauai's television airwaves on channel 6, but its audio format of local music and "lite hits" can be picked up at 87.7 on the FM dial. Key artists include Keahiwai, Native Blend, Sting and Sarah McLachlan.

art
PHOTO COURTESY CHANG MEDIA GROUP
Jeff Chang plans to support his Kauai TV station with radio advertising revenues.



There are no rules requiring cable companies to carry the signals of low-power TV stations, limiting the reach of Coast-FM's video signal to homes with a TV antenna. "What we offer on our video signal are Kauai facts, island history and public service announcements," said Chang. Video content is produced in-house at a studio in Lihue.

FM radio is a much larger animal, which is why the radio signal is his focus.

"From the financial point of view, it's more logical to run it as a radio station," Chang said. Coast-FM's audio signal reaches into Hanalei and Princeville as well as to Poipu, according to station engineers. "It's a great signal," which he believes will generate revenue for Chang Broadcasting of Hawaii LLC.

KZND, or "The End," a low-power TV station in Alaska, was his inspiration.

"The precedent is set. As long as I'm maintaining the technical end by having a video signal, you can operate in this way," said Chang. Industry publication Radio & Records' story about "Alaska's New Rock Rebel" is linked at www.kznd.com.

Chang was a TV weatherman in San Bernardino, Calif., until his general manager encouraged him to switch to advertising sales in order to pursue his dream of station ownership. He did, selling spots for stations in San Francisco and Santa Barbara until he struck out on his own, setting up a firm to place broadcast and billboard advertising. That company, Chang Media Group, also produces SCANS, the Southern California Advertising News, a trade publication for broadcasters and advertisers.

"I always wanted to start out in the state of Hawaii," he said. "This is my first venture as far as broadcast ownership, but I'm looking at other stations on other islands."

Another radio mover

Neighbor island broadcaster George Hochman has increased his reach from Oahu to Kauai.

The purchase of KORL-AM 650 has closed and the format has flipped from Radio Disney for 'tweens to "local talk and multicultural programming," Hochman said.

Japanese programming from the old KJPN crew, formerly at 940 AM, airs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For now, the rest of the day is used to pitch blocks of time to potential program providers.

"We're getting a lot of interest," he said. One person wants to put on a jazz show, another wants to put on an arts and cultural show, a chiropractor is looking to buy time and "a Korean church wants to come on board," said Hochman. Rates go from $100 to $200 per hour, depending on time of day.

Programming is coming out of Hochman-McCann Hawaii Inc. partner Byron McCann's offices at the moment, but new studios are being built in Pioneer Plaza space that once housed KCCN radio.




See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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 at: eengle@starbulletin.com


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