Erika Engle

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

A new big kahuna
for The Big Kahuna,


Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2004

>> Among the Hawaii radio stations owned by Visionary Related Entertainment Inc. are KQNG-FM 93.5, KQNG-AM 570 and KUAI-AM 720 on Kauai. The stations were not included in a chart on Page C4 yesterday.

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

KUMU-AM 1500/FM-94.7 and KAHA-105.9, The Big Kahuna, have been sold to Maui-based Visionary Related Entertainment by Connecticut-based Maverick Media LLC for an undisclosed price.

Real Radio of America LLC had offered $5.2 million for the stations in December 2002. That deal fell through in May.

Pending resolution of the new transaction and Federal Communications Commission approval of the broadcast licenses transfers, the deal will give Visionary nine operating radio stations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. Its application for a construction permit for an FM station at 95.9 in Hilo is also pending before the FCC.

Arizona-based Kalil & Co. Inc. brokered the deal and issued a news release touting the breadth of Visionary's ownership and indicating that KUMU and KAHA General Manager Jeff Coelho and other station employees would keep their jobs. Visionary President John Detz was introduced to KUMU and KAHA staffers at a 3 p.m. meeting yesterday, but did not return calls.

"I think the plus-side of this is that we're going to have a commitment for locally owned radio stations," Coelho said. "We operate lean and mean as it is, we're not an overstaffed radio station (group). Everyone here has a vital functioning role. I don't anticipate being able to operate with any less people than we have now." The stations employ 18 full-time and 12 part-time staff members.

"Our employees will be among the few working in the industry that can say they're working for a local owner," said Coelho.

If approved, the deal will give two local owners more Hawaii stations than are owned by broadcast behemoth Clear Channel Communications Inc., based in Texas. Of its more than 1,200 radio stations in the United States, it owns seven stations in Honolulu, the maximum allowable in the market.


The two local groups are able own more total stations because the stations are spread out across the islands.

Hawaii's biggest locally based radio player is Maui-based Pacific Radio Group. It purchased four stations from Maverick Media and eight stations from Big Island Radio last year.

Pacific Radio has sold four stations on the Big Island in order to comply with federal ownership limits.

Pacific Radio President and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Bergson declined comment on the new Maverick deal.

Visionary had been in talks to buy the Big Island Radio stations, but the two sides could not agree on terms.

A group called Frontier Radio Investors is also involved in the Visionary purchase of the Maverick Honolulu stations, having made a "minority, non-control investment in the combined Visionary group," according to a statement.

Gary Rozynek, Maverick Media president, could not be reached.

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:


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