Veteran news broadcaster helped isle AM radio grow
Stewart Diamond / 1938-2007
For years, island radio listeners heard L. Stewart Diamond deliver the news authoritatively in deep voice with a slight Southern accent when they tuned in to the talk shows of the late Hal "Aku" Lewis and his successors Michael W. Perry and Larry Price.
Diamond started as a radio news broadcaster in the 1960s, working for KKUA-AM and KGMB-AM, now KSSK-AM. In the 1980s he was station manager of KULA-FM, now KSSK-FM.
Diamond, 68, died Friday in Mililani.
Radio was just one of three careers for Diamond, who was an Army public affairs officer for the past 23 years, served as chief of public affairs for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command at Fort Shafter and retired in 1980 as a senior master sergeant after nearly 23 years in the Air Force.
"He was pretty much a serious guy," said KSSK-FM broadcaster Dick Wainright. "He did a great job, speaking in this booming voice. He was a father figure" to many others in local radio, Wainright said. "He was the original manager of KSSK-FM when it first started in a little back room at a time when AM radio was the big stuff."
Sharon Pascual said her father "was very modest about things he had done. He didn't like to talk about himself. We knew he had won medals and that he was asked to go into the studio to record. Other people would come and tell us." Pascual said the performance Diamond was most proud of was his role as master of ceremonies for a dramatization commemorating Armed Forces history presented at Hickam Air Force Base in 1991 and 1992.
"One of our fondest memories is when he would walk into a room and say something in that booming voice, people would stop and look at him," said Pascual.
He was born in Greenville, Ala. His military honors included a Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service medals and a Vietnam Service Medal. He was recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense with Thomas Jefferson awards for broadcasting.
A funeral service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cornerstone Fellowship, 95-1080 Ukuwai St., Mililani. Friends may call after 6 p.m. Burial with military honors will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.
He is survived by his wife Kimiko; daughters Shana, Sheryl and Sharon; sister Cile; and six grandchildren.