Friday, January 25, 2002

Business training lessons

This space once reported on a company which titled one of its management training classes "Sinatra: The Man, The Myth, The Legend."

That opened up a whole topic about nonstandard training or classes and the whole business-learning process.

Trade Publishing Ltd. President Carl Hebenstreit was once flown to Los Angeles for special classes.

The subject matter -- "to teach me how to pour beer," he said.

Back in the day when he was better known by his on-air name, "Kini Popo," he hosted a popular local TV show which went through a few incarnations and different times of day on either KGMB or KHON between 1954 and 1961. During its run as an evening program the sponsor was Anheuser Busch, which liberally served Budweiser to adults in the studio audience.

"We had all the beer we wanted," Hebenstreit said.

Part of the deal was he had to do live commercials for Budweiser, so the three days of training was to teach him the proper method of pouring beer in front of a TV camera.

"It took me three days plus a weekend to sober up," Hebenstreit.

Now onto more sober pursuits, his travels brought him back to Hawaii in 1976 and he rejoined Trade Publishing; and became president of the company in 1981.

Letting go is tough

Xcel Hawaii Inc. President Ed D'Ascoli is a successful entrepreneur who has learned not to control the whole advertising process.

"I had to find someone in their 20s to sell to people in their 20s," he said. "I'm pushing 50. How's a 50-year-old guy going to sell something to an 18-year-old kid?"

He puts his trust in his 20-something art director in California. D'Ascoli conveys the message he wants to get out about the company's products with the instruction, "it's up to you to get it there."

"I still want to see it," to see that it's not "too far out in left field," but he said. "I had to bite my tongue."

"It was the hardest thing -- but also a turning point in my business."

'No' can be a lesson too

Due diligence, or at least performance of some basic research on the Internet, may be the lesson one businessman takes away from a recent experience with the Federal Communications Commission.

His application for a construction permit to build a low-power FM radio operation in Honolulu to broadcast at 93.1 megahertz was denied Jan. 18 because that frequency has belonged to KQMQ FM for decades.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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