A day, or 365,
over 39

Happy birthday wishes are in order for KHNL-TV as the station is 40 years old today.

The station known as "News 8" signed on as KTRG on July 4, 1962 with English, Japanese and local programming under the Watumull Broadcasting Co. banner. Four years later the Helena Rubenstein cosmetics company bought the station, changed the call letters to KIKU and focused its programming toward the Japanese-speaking viewer. In 1970, a young man known as "Larry G" to morning listeners of KORL-AM 650, heard about a job opportunity at KIKU.

Larry Gishitomi was hired as a production assistant "by the nicest guy around," he said of the late Tomio Tomozawa, then production manager at the station. Now a 32-year veteran and technical director who works in master control, the almost-59-year old Gishitomi remembers the old days of KIKU. "I helped the production manager do various shows like cooking shows and interviews," he said, "sometimes we'd have movie stars ... like Toshiro Mifune."

"The biggest thing during the KIKU era was when we handled Kikaida," Gishitomi said.

Former General Manager Joanne Ninomiya is credited with importing the show from Japan in around 1974. Now president of J.N. Productions Inc., Ninomiya was at the old "Channel 13" for 13 years.

"It was very difficult getting started. We had to start from scratch," she said, "but the nice thing today is that some of the people are still there."

In the mid-1980s General Manager Rick Blangiardi was credited with boosting the station's business performance, "we grew by leaps and bounds," Gishitomi said.

Station Vice President and General Manager John Fink has 16 years at the station, starting in sales under Blangiardi.

"Four of our six department heads have been here 14 to 18 years," he said. "There's something to be said about that in an industry where people are known to move around."

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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