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Dig This
Friday, August 4, 2000

By Stephanie Kendrick

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Greg Koob, who edits and publishes Hawaii
Horticulture magazine, now shares his gardening
expertise on a weekly radio show.

Radio show
raises following

Local horticulturalist Gregory Koob is offering Hawaii gardeners a new source of advice and encouragement.

Sunday afternoons, when many would naturally be turning their attention to their yards and growing tables, Koob hosts the Hawaii Horticulture Radio Show on KHNR, 650 AM.

The station, which Koob had never heard of, approached him with the idea of doing a gardening show. " 'AM?' I said, 'do they still have that?,' " quipped Koob. But he jumped at the chance. "It's a way to get the word out to more people," he said.

And since its March 12 premier he has found KHNR, which carries the CNN radio feed to Hawaii, has quite an audience.

"It's been good," said Koob. "I have loyal fans already, people who call every week."

The radio show is a first for Koob, who is editor and publisher of Hawaii Horticulture magazine. He has a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in horticulture from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Koob works as a consultant and lectures throughout the state and nationally.

Despite his lack of radio experience, he got the hang of things quickly, according to Mike Buck, program director at KHNR.

"It took him like 8 minutes, he got right into it," said Buck, adding Koob is even beginning to handle production aspects of the show.

"Greg Koob is a tremendously qualified expert who was willing to give of his time," said Buck. "It's a fun show. We're happy with it."

Each week, Koob interviews a different guest with expertise in landscaping or horticulture. They both take questions from the audience.

"The phones light up. He gets so much out of his guests," said Buck. "It's not just how to make your grass greener. He gets really into his stuff."

Koob said getting guests to appear on the show has been easy, and many of them have gotten follow-up calls from listeners after being on the air.

Frankie Sekiya, owner of Frankie's Nursery, was one of Koob's first guests. He had listeners call after the show looking for fruit trees they had discussed.

"I think it's great," said Sekiya. "You can certainly tell he has a wide audience out there."

The question-and-answer format make for a dynamic show, said Sekiya.

"We didn't even get to talk about half of the fruit. It went by really fast, I was really surprised," he said.

Koob agreed he has had no trouble filling the air time.

"There's times when two hours would have been fine. The hour goes faster than either me or my guest expect it to," he said.

Preparing for each show takes about a day, said Koob, not counting the time he puts into finding guests.

And he's learning a lot about being a good interviewer. In addition to preparing a list of questions ahead of time, he quickly figured out he has to listen to the answers. "The conversations might go in an entirely different direction than what I expected," he said.

Koob said none of his guests have been dull, even the ones who claimed to be shy. "When they're interested (in a topic) they can talk about it," he said.

Brian Choy, a recreational lei maker who works for the state Department of Health, was on the show to talk about lei plants July 16.

It was his first time on the air and he found the station breaks and other interruptions disorienting, but was happy for a forum to express his message.

"I was trying to convey to the people who were listening in that they could grow the plants they're using (to make lei) rather than buy," he said.

"You always try to reach people," said Choy. "Every time you do that, or you do a class, you know you help someone."

Koob, who volunteers his time to the show, said helping people is his motivation and the reason for the call-in format.

"I get more of a feel of what the public is interested in and what their problems are," he said. He keeps referral numbers for local botanical gardens and university extension services on hand for questions he or his guest cannot answer right away, but said they handle most of the calls on the air.

Topics he has covered so far include water gardening, nematodes, anthuriums and native plants. This Sunday, he will discuss irrigation with Alan Schildknecht, owner of Irrigation Hawaii.

Koob invited readers to suggest future topics or guests they would be interested in hearing on the show. Reach him by email at or postal mail at P.O. Box 12191, Honolulu 96828.

On the air

Bullet What: Hawaii Horticulture Radio Show
Bullet When: Sundays from 3 to 4 p.m.
Bullet Where: KHNR, 650 AM
Bullet Upcoming Guests: Aug. 6, Alan Schildknecht, irrigation; Aug. 13, Ron Mau, insect pests; Aug. 20, Lisa Vinzant, bromeliads; Aug. 27, Steve Ferrera, genetically engineered plants
Bullet Info:

Do It Electric!

Gardening Calendar in Do It Electric!

Stephanie Kendrick's gardening column runs Fridays in Today.
You can write her at the Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802
or email

E-mail to Features Editor

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