KHON losing anchor and reporter Mizutani to Hawaiian Telcom
KHON-TV anchor and reporter Ron Mizutani will leave the station after more than 20 years for a new job as vice president of corporate communications at Hawaiian Telcom
"His experience in high-profile cases, complex financial transactions and the challenging issues that face our community make him an excellent choice to help tell our company's story," Hawaiian Telcom Chief Executive Mike Ruley said in a statement.
Mizutani, who will leave KHON on Aug. 17, will fill the phone-company vacancy left in April by Dan Smith's return to Texas. He will start his new job on Aug. 20.
KHON President Joe McNamara praised Mizutani for giving "110 percent of himself to researching, writing and delivering news to the people of Hawaii."
This is the third high-profile departure from KHON this year, following Leslie Wilcox's move to CEO at PBS Hawaii and Tina Shelton's exit to UH's John A. Burns School of Medicine. Wilcox had been at KHON for 15 of her 34 years in journalism. Shelton renewed her TV contract in May but could not pass up the opportunity, she said in June.
KHON has been sold twice in the past year and a half, but "that wasn't the driving reason," Mizutani told TheBuzz.
"I will miss sharing stories, telling stories of our communities, building relationships with everybody," he said.
"But ultimately, I still had this goal in my head that I wanted to be a decision-maker someday ... and this is an opportunity I needed to take with a company that's got so much future ahead."
During the station announcement, "I was sobbing like a baby," Mizutani said, having worked there his "whole adult life."
Now 42, he joined KHON at 19 as a weekend sports producer and worked his way up to sports reporter, anchor and sports director before transitioning to news.
The losses of veteran local journalists are taking their toll on the newsroom, said lead anchor Joe Moore.
As if in an old John Wayne movie with wagons circled and troops falling one by one, "you just hope the reinforcements show up, and right now I'm listening for that cavalry bugler," Moore said.
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