'B-Rock's' third tour on KPOI draws to close


POSTED: Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brock Whaley has not been on the air at KPOI-FM 105.9 since last week.

He was informed late Tuesday that he is no longer employed by Maui-based Visionary Related Entertainment LLC.

“;All I can say is that yesterday was Brock's last day,”; John Aeto, general manager of VRE's Oahu stations, said yesterday. “;We are in the process of looking for a new director of programming.”;

Whaley's return to Honolulu in April 2007 launched his third tour at KPOI, though on a different frequency this time around.

He recently oversaw its format change from classic rock to classic hits and its rebranding to “;The Ride.”;

“;I will of course miss my listeners, but also the tremendous staff it was my pleasure to work alongside, during my most recent tour in Honolulu,”; Whaley said.

Not everyone waS a fan, as listeners loyal to former afternoon personality Dave Lawrence were bitter about Lawrence's disappearance from the station.

Those who were “;B-Rock”; fans, however, were also avid Hawaii Public Radio listeners, research recently showed.

After years in large mainland markets, Whaley did mornings at KPOI-FM 97.5, “;98 Rock,”; from 1983 to 1993, when its format was album-oriented rock. He left when the format flipped to alternative rock under the moniker “;The Edge.”;

He worked at KRTR-FM 96.3 and was enlisted by longtime Hawaii broadcaster Austin Vali to help launch “;The Blaze,”; a classic-rock format at the former KDEO-FM 102.7 that was short-lived.

Whaley returned to KPOI from 1995 to 2000, when he moved to the mainland, then was recruited to return in 2007 as director of programming for all five Honolulu VRE stations.

These comprised KPOI, KQMQ-FM 93.1 “;The Zone,”; KUMU-FM 94.7/AM 1500 and KDDB-FM 102.7 “;Da Bomb,”; but his main oversight was over KPOI and KUMU, he said.

“;To my ears the KPOI-FM morning show has just been spitting out music from a computer. While it is an understandable cost-cutting move, even the most advanced hard drive can't make a Mufi Hannemann joke,”; Whaley quipped.

Given widespread radio layoffs since deregulation in 1996, up to and including yesterday's cuts of longtime local talent at Clear Channel stations, Whaley said that “;this is a difficult time for those who lost their jobs, but it is also a difficult time for anyone who realizes radio's past local service and its potential to entertain.”;

Meanwhile, VRE has named Chris Hughes the new morning man at “;The Zone.”; He started Monday.

Hughes was hired to do IT work at the station cluster. “;He has a very diverse background. We brought him in from California,”; Aeto said.

Information systems is decidedly an off-air role, though it impacts on-air systems. Hughes “;was, for a couple of years, handling Clear Channel traffic for parts of L.A.—he's got lots of on-air experience,”; Aeto said.

The show had been hostless since the March 31 departure of Augie Tulba, who continues to host morning shows for some of VRE's neighbor-island radio stations and perform his stand-up comedy act.