Joint newscasts launch with technical glitches


POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The newly combined news operations of KGMB-TV and KHNL/KFVE-TV launched new news programming with new branding, some new anchors, a completed call-letter swap and the technical glitches that are typical in any such situation.

The opposition to the stations' shared services agreement also has moved forward at the Federal Communications Commission, whose Media Bureau has begun an investigation.

“;Hawaii News Now: Sunrise Early Edition”; aired on KGMB at 4:30 a.m. yesterday, and the audio and video were not synchronized for some viewers. Then the audio dropped out completely.

“;We've got some transmission issues”; with the cable company, said Rick Blangiardi, vice president and general manager over KGMB and KHNL. “;Everything we saw is fixable.”;

Overall, Blangiardi is “;so pleased with what we got done.”;





        The stations' recent call-letter history:


» Previous call sign: KGMB
» Facility ID number: 36917
KGMBJune 1, 1982
KGMB-TVOct. 25, 1980



» Previous call sign: KFVE
» Facility ID number: 34445
KFVEAug. 28, 1986




» Current call sign: KHNL
» Facility ID number: 34867
KHNLAug. 29, 1984
KHNL-TVMay 24, 1984
KIKU-TVNov. 28, 1979




The Federal Communications Commission refers to call letters of all types as call signs, some of which include letters and numbers. Radio industry people typically refer simply to a station's “;calls.”;




News technicians and talent rehearsed over the weekend, while many on-air folk also performed in the “;Gridiron”; variety show, making for a grueling weekend before the launch of an unprecedented broadcast product in Hawaii.

The news, branded “;Hawaii News Now,”; also includes “;Traffic Now”; and “;Weather Now”; segments. A “;Connect Now”; segment incorporates feedback from social media site, in which KGMB has been heavily involved.

The call-letter swap, announced at the same time as the shared services agreement, took effect yesterday. The programming of KGMB and KFVE also swapped places, which new KHNL/KGMB owner Raycom Media Inc. said would keep KGMB and KFVE shows affiliated with each station's call letters. For viewers, though, the programs will appear on the same channels.

It was part of the shared services agreement that watchdog group Media Council Hawaii decried as a “;shell game”; Raycom was playing to gain control of Hawaii's CBS affiliate in addition to NBC affiliate KHNL, which it already owned.

Meanwhile the FCC has asked the stations' owners to submit executed versions of the asset exchange, shared services, option and lease agreements they described in a Sept. 16 e-mail to the FCC. Copies are also to sent to Angela Campbell, an attorney representing Media Council Hawaii at the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center.

Media Council Hawaii President Chris Conybeare said he is gratified that the FCC is investigating the stations' arrangement. “;It appears to me that ... the FCC has agreed that we need to see these documents.”;


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at erika@star-