Ed Michelman / 1929-2007
Broadcaster was devoted to Hawaiian music
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Ed Michelman, whose deep, resonant voice graced radio, television and countless Hawaiian musical performances, has died at the age of 78.
By his own admission, Michelman "couldn't carry a tune," but his distinctive delivery and devotion to accuracy left a lasting impression as a broadcaster and as master of ceremonies for the Royal Hawaiian Band.
His wife, Kimi, described his broadcasting voice as "a housewife's delight."
"I always used to kid him about that," she said yesterday. "And I used to tell people, 'You should hear him at home!'"
Hawaiian authority Mary Kawena Pukui gave him a loftier name, "Kaho'olono," or "voice of truth," according to Aaron Mahi, longtime director of the Royal Hawaiian Band. Michelman studied under Pukui and was known for his knowledge of Hawaiiana and his passion for preserving Hawaiian music. He died last Thursday after falling ill a couple of months ago.
Born May 2, 1929, in New York City, Michelman moved to Hawaii in 1952 and began his career in communications. He served as news director at KHVH radio for 15 years and then moved into television. Through the years, he worked at KITV, KHON and KGMB.
He hosted a musical program five evenings a week in the 1950s, his wife said. He was the master of ceremonies for musical shows at Waikiki hotels and also served as narrator for the Royal Hawaiian Band for 40 years. He traveled with the band across the country, to Carnegie Hall as well as Europe.
"He loved his Hawaiian music and supported it in so many ways," Mahi said. "Not only from the standpoint of when he was on radio and television -- that was his vocation. His avocation was just the complete support of anything that was truly Hawaiian."
As president of the Friends of the Royal Hawaiian Band, Michelman highlighted the band's unique musical history and worked to extend its educational mission. Recently, he had been with Mahi on a project under the auspices of the Kawananakoa Foundation to research and arrange music from the Na Mele Hawaii collection for beginning and intermediate bands.
After the Office of Hawaiian Affairs was established, he served as its communications officer, retiring in 1991. Although his career was to share the news and get the word out, Michelman was a reserved person. He asked his family to keep it quiet when he recently fell ill. Services were private.
Along with his wife, Michelman is survived by son Patrick; brother Frederick of Washington, D.C.; grandchildren Kekoa and Brittany; and great-grandson Noah.
"I really didn't think I would lose him so soon," said his wife, Kimi. "You couldn't find a more caring person than Ed. He was very quiet and unassuming, but, oh, it's a loss. He was so committed, and he had the respect of so many people. He was quite a man."