Big Island TV station gets bigger
LOW power no longer means over-the-air-only for Hilo Hawaii Broadcasting Ltd.
The company's KHHB-TV Channel 5 has won channel slots for Oceanic Time Warner Cable's Hilo service -- Ch. 46 on basic cable and Ch. 49 for digital customers, significantly increasing its audience potential.
KHHB, a little more than a year old, is the only Hilo station "serving the community with local news, weather and fun TV," said Kevin Culbertson, Hilo Hawaii Broadcasting managing member.
It plans a half-hour newscast to debut in the second quarter and the station is considering candidates.
For now, he anchors 30-second news updates and the station carried tsunami alerts on Jan. 12.
"My team is so pleased about that," Culbertson said. "We are not competing with the Honolulu stations, but we are carving out our own niche."
The 'fun TV' includes vintage shows such as "Mission: Impossible," "Charlie's Angels," and "Soap," and more recent hits such as "Party of Five" and "Mad About You."
"We are pleased with KHHB-TV 5's commitment to the local community and look forward to this addition to our lineup of quality programming," Lorene Hough, Hawaii County general manager for Oceanic, said in a statement.
For now, the station reaches just the Hilo side, but Culbertson plans to add a Kona station.
However, "we have to crawl before we walk and walk before we run. We want to bring a quality product," as opposed to "just dropping something in."
The Federal Communications Commission has granted KHHB's application for a digital companion channel -- for the transition from analog broadcasts, but before KHHB goes digital, the company plans increased services and programs.
Hilo channel listings on Oceanic's Web site were not updated as of Friday and KHHB's Web site is being upgraded. It should be operational later this week, Culbertson said.
Paul Wilson, director of programming for KSSK-FM 92.3/AM 590 and other local Clear Channel Communications Inc. stations, is leaving Hawaii.
"It's been six great years ... but it's time to find a new challenge," he said.
Wilson's last day is Feb. 15 and Jamie Hyatt, KDNN-FM 98.5 program director, will fill the role in the interim.
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