KHON to keep Action Line and Lokahi programs
KHON-TV will continue its long-running community service projects, "Action Line" and the "Lokahi Giving Project.
"I know a lot of people were worried these projects would be cut," News Director Lori Silva said. "I hope this puts those fears to rest."
The station has received a flood of letters, e-mails and phone calls expressing concern that the programs would be cut, along with a chunk of the station's work force, by its new owners. Those expressing concern have included U.S. Rep. Ed Case and a slew of state lawmakers, including former TV news reporter Glenn Wakai and former Action Line and Lokahi volunteers.
Action Line, which started in 1987, is a station program that resolves consumer complaints.
The Lokahi Giving Project was co-founded in 1992 by KHON anchor Leslie Wilcox and coordinator Mariellen Jones. In partnership with the Salvation Army, Lokahi has served needy families statewide, particularly through the holiday season.
Earlier assurances from executives of California-based Montecito Broadcast Group LLC apparently did not travel as widely as the worries.
"Frankly he'd made up his mind before he even saw those (letters, etc.)," Silva said, of Joe MacNamara, KHON president and general manager.
"Montecito Broadcasting realizes the impact these projects have on the people of Hawaii," he said. "We remain committed to the community."
A broadcast television or radio station is different from a company that makes cars, office products, or widgets, in that broadcasters use publicly owned airwaves to get their product out.
Neither George Lilly, Montecito chief executive, nor MacNamara needed to be reminded that as stewards of federally issued broadcast licenses, they must operate in the interest of their community, in this case the state.
"We believe strongly that service to the local community and a strong news operation is essential," Lilly said. "We have convinced our investors of that."
The station's longtime community service programs will stay, Lilly said.
MacNamara said he is proud of the legacy KHON has built.
"It's part of what has made this station what it is in the community and it speaks volumes about the people who are here."
MacNamara hopes to build on the programs.
Lokahi is the largest holiday drive in Hawaii, according to Silva's announcement.
Jones recruits and trains volunteers who match "Adopt-a-Family" donors and recipients around the state. Wilcox tells the hopeful recipients' stories on the news, "and invariably, viewers come through with significant help."
Donors "often do far more than the recipients dreamed, sometimes giving support throughout the year," Wilcox said.
"We also operate year-round with rental subsidies and keiki medical emergencies. We've helped many families, many children who don't qualify for government assistance, who have no safety net."
Lokahi "involves the human spirit, the heart- and hands-on helping. The annual drive keeps rising to new levels based on the generosity of givers and the dedication of volunteers," Wilcox said.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org