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Notable KGMB tower will be razed


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POSTED: Thursday, August 20, 2009

The iconic KGMB-TV tower, located with the building at 1534 Kapiolani Blvd., will eventually be torn down, not because of the new shared services agreement with KHNL/KFVE-TV, but because KGMB owner MCG Capital sold the property in January 2008.

The tower has been the source of KGMB's broadcast signal since it signed on Dec. 1, 1952, under Pacific Broadcasting Co., led by President Cecil Heftel.

For years it displayed huge red neon letters that vertically spelled out “;Aku,”; for “;J. Akuhead Pupule”; (the late Hal Lewis), the popular morning show host on KGMB-AM 590.

The AM station's tower was actually on Ala Wai Boulevard in those days.

; KHET's original analog signal first emanated from the KGMB tower on Feb. 23, 1966.

Heftel's signature is on the contract signed with the then-University of Hawaii-operated ETV station, to which Heftel donated the antenna.

Heftel put KGMB-FM 93.1 on the air using the tower on Oct. 1, 1967. The station's signal continued to emanate from the tower after Heftel sold KGMB-FM to put KULA-FM 92.3 on the air, from Waipahu.

KGMB-FM became KGMQ-FM and then KQMQ-FM and the transmitter eventually moved to Palehua Ridge.

The only stations broadcasting from the tower at present are the digital television signals of KGMB and KHON.

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Sources: Brock Whaley, broadcast historian; Steve Komori, vice president of content delivery, PBS Hawaii; Mike McCarthy, chief engineer, KGMB-TV