New TV station to get unwrapped in Hilo this Christmas
A recent inductee to the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame intends to give Big Island television viewers a present on Christmas Day.
"I'm bringing a new model of programming," said Kevin Culbertson, founder of Nevada-based Hilo Hawaii Broadcasting Ltd. The company has purchased two low-power television construction permits for $40,000 from Louisiana-based businessman Dean Mosely. One station will be built in Hilo and the other in Ketchikan, Alaska. Hilo viewers will need an old-fashioned "rabbit-ears" TV antenna to receive the signal, which will broadcast on Channel 5.
Culbertson plans to fire up Hilo station K05LD on Christmas Day, but has until Jan. 9 to start airing, in case of delays.
This is his first foray into station ownership, though through his nearly 25-year broadcast career he has helped build TV stations in Europe and San Francisco. Culbertson is the general manager of KEEN-TV in Las Vegas, which was named the National Religious Broadcasters 2005 Low Power Television Station of the Year. It is owned by Total Living Network, which airs Christ-centered programming.
"The (Hilo) TV station, straight up, happens to be owned by Christians," Culbertson said, but his station won't merely be a satellite of the Total Living Network.
It will be "safe for the entire family in terms of the values, in the sense of the language and everything else, but it is not necessarily only a Christian product in the sense of promoting or popularizing a specific religion," he said.
"What we do not want to do is a lot of paid programming. ... Personally, I'm a broadcaster. I look at things from a viewer's standpoint. I don't think (infomercial-type shows) serve the community."
Culbertson has a lot to do before Christmas. He is making arrangements for space on a broadcast tower, space on the ground for offices and a studio, and for broadcast equipment, not just for Hilo but for Ketchikan.
And he's also obtaining the rights for TV shows. Because his name doesn't appear on enough dotted lines yet, he declined to divulge the shows he's working to secure. "I don't want to lose anything I'm working on."
Culbertson's business plan includes a mix of traditional advertising and sponsorship and eventually hiring a handful of local people to run the operation.
"We want to be local, be of service to the community ... and we can't do that from 2,700 miles away."
Because TheBuzz is niele, or nosy, Culbertson was asked if he is any relation to former KGMB-TV sportscaster Scott Culbertson. He's not, as far as he knows.
Kevin Culbertson and his wife of 25 years celebrated their anniversary in the islands in August by renewing their vows. After previous Hawaii visits they had toyed with the idea of doing business in the islands. "It sounds hokey but we love the spirit of the islands, the people, the feeling, the spirituality of it. This is something we want to do and somewhere we want to be and all the elements were coming together at the same time."
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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: email@example.com