Kauai radio deal resembles alchemy
CALIFORNIA businessman James Primm has sold his $100 KAWV-FM 98.1 in Lihue for $400,000 -- an apparent profit of $399,900.
"From that standpoint, I overpaid dearly," chuckled buyer George Hochman, president of Kauai-based Hochman Hawaii-Four Inc. He is also part-owner of six other stations on Kauai, Oahu and Maui.
The margin wasn't really that big, as the March deal in which Primm bought out his former partner was for $100 as well as assumption of debt.
The new sale to Hochman and Indiana-based partner William "Shirk" Poorman will have them assume expenses and operations at month's end.
Primm, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, wanted to sell his Hawaii singleton and Hochman was looking to buy, Hochman said.
Hochman already has two Kauai FM stations, KITH-FM 98.9 and KTOH-FM 99.9.
"On Kauai, you can own up to three FMs, so now I have a full complement."
KITH plays Hawaiian music while KTOH plays hits from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. KAWV, with a young-adult contemporary format, will eventually move in with its sister stations on Rice Street.
KAWV does not air any live local shows and Hochman is not looking to hire.
Kauai is the No. 535 radio market and "it does not pay to have a full complement of air staff," Hochman said.
Air staff at his other stations provide "the ability to go live at any time," in the event of emergency.
Elsewhere in the empire, Hochman is preparing to fire up KORL-FM 101.1 on Oahu by mid-July, which will knock Ohana Broadcasters Corp's. low-power KXRG-LP 101.1 off the air.
"They're going to cease operation because a full-power trumps a low-power," but Hochman believes Ohana Broadcasters will have a presence on KORL-FM, which will sell blocks of air time.
Honolulu-based International Communications Corp., supplier of Japanese-language programming under the trade name KJPN, "is going to take a good chunk of the daytime," Hochman said.
He also hopes to get KRUD-AM 1130 on the air in Honolulu by fall, with a format that will likely serve a "some aspect of the foreign language community. That's my whole bag."
"Were certainly not the biggest-billing stations, but we're OK. We are serving an underserved part of the community," Hochman said.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, 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