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Halau Lokahi School to build a radio station


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POSTED: Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Halau Lokahi Public Charter School on Oahu will be the first K-to-12 public school on the block—well, in the entire state—to have its own radio station.

The University of Hawaii has had KTUH-FM 90.3 on the air since 1969 and is marking its 40th anniversary this year—but Halau Lokahi is not a university.

The Waiakamilo Road charter school applied with the Federal Communications Commission for a permit to build a noncommercial educational FM station in 2007.

Its application for the frequency at 90.5 FM was among 3,600 applications the commission received from around the country between Oct. 12 and Oct. 22, 2007—and it was granted Aug. 24.

The school's goal is to set up the station to be part of a network, said Ikaika Hussey.

Now publisher of The Hawaii Independent online newspaper, Hussey “;was honchoing this whole project”; while on the staff at the school, he said.

So far, $100,000 has been raised toward the station-building project, and the original plan was to raise $150,000 for each station in the network.

If the other partners' applications don't get approved, “;then we will scale back the effort a little bit and focus on doing what we can with the resources that we have,”; Hussey said.

The school has an agreement with a private landowner to locate its transmission facilities, but Hussey was unsure where the studios would be built.

The station's programming will be connected to the educational mission of the school “;and also linked to the community we serve, kind of a broader Hauula-North Shore community,”; Hussey said.

Halau Lokahi's approach to education “;accepts and applies the holistic orientation of the Hawaiian culture,”; its Web site says.

The vision statement describes the community and surrounding environment as “;living learning laboratories where students and community work together to create a future that is pono (good and upright in a moral sense).”;

Staffing likely would be varied, Hussey said.

“;I think you would see a mixture, with strong student participation,”; in which students create content as well as community involvement to ensure that the station is serving the broader community.

Though it would be run by a school and not professional broadcasters, the FCC nevertheless will require the station to abide by the same regulations as other stations—for instance, those pertaining to the Emergency Alert System.

Stations are regularly fined for failure to perform required testing or having inoperable equipment, but Hussey is confident Halau Lokahi will be compliant.

“;We've been working on this for quite a while,”; Hussey said.

“;We've had good professional assistance in getting us toward completing this project, and we have world-class engineers and attorneys that are working with us on this,”; Hussey said.

ON THE NET:

» halaulokahi.org
» thehawaiiindependent.com