KITV to bring island news anchor back home


POSTED: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Locally grown Seattle TV reporter and anchor Lara Yamada will be returning to Hawaii to join Paula Akana on the anchor desk at 6 and 10 p.m. on KITV in April.

“;The substance that Lara brings to us is as exciting as her on-air presence,”; said Mike Rosenberg, president and general manager, in a statement.

She is married to a local boy who was raised on Oahu, so it will be a homecoming for them both, Rosenberg said.

“;Over the past years on the mainland, Lara has broken major stories and has been recognized by her peers”; with several journalism awards.

Currently at KCPQ-TV in Seattle, she started in television while still a journalism student at the University of Oregon, and upon returning home in the mid-1990s, worked as a technical director at KITV.


She then worked as an assignment editor and reporter for KGMB-TV under her maiden name.

A graduate of Kapaa High School, Yamada has spent most of her career far away from her island home — working in Burlington, Vt.; Minneapolis; and, moving ever closer to home in 2006, landing at the Fox affiliate she will be leaving to return to the islands.

“;I am so pleased to bring Lara back to Hawaii,”; said KITV News Director Genie Garner. “;Lara is an outstanding journalist. Her mainland anchoring and reporting experience, plus her connection to the islands, make her the perfect addition to our team and the future of KITV4 Island Television News.”;

 Yamada could not be reached in Seattle, as she was out on assignment at the time TheBuzz called the KCPQ newsroom.

Akana currently solo-anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. KITV newscasts and will continue the solo role for the 5 p.m. show after Yamada's arrival, Rosenberg said.

She began her career as a news intern at KITV in 1983. In addition to her news anchoring duties, she co-anchored annual Merrie Monarch Festival broadcasts for many of the 29 years KITV carried the broadcast live from Hilo.

The telecast will be on KFVE-TV for the next five years, under a contract awarded in October.

While the big news in local television last year was the controversial shared services agreement between KGMB-TV, KHNL-TV and KFVE-TV and resulting layoffs of dozens of on-air and off-air staffers, KITV also saw its share of personnel changes.

Perhaps most visibly, Gary Sprinkle left TV news on Christmas Day and his wife, Pamela Young, announced she would downsize her schedule, to anchor only on the weekends, resulting in Akana's solo weekday anchoring of three shows.

Also at KITV, Mahealani Richardson will return from maternity leave to co-anchor “;KITV4 Island Television News This Morning”; with Dan Meisenzahl, Amber-Lynn Hyden and Yasmin Dar on Feb. 15.


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).