Radio split creates new largest owner in isles


POSTED: Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hawaii's largest radio group is splitsville.

Maui-based Visionary Related Entertainment and California-based investor/partner Frontier Radio have been granted permission by the Federal Communications Commission to part.

VRE keeps its Maui stations while Frontier Radio Management Inc. has created new companies, Ohana Broadcast Co. LLC and Ohana Broadcast Co. II LLC, to be the licensee entities over the stations.

“;In essence, all this is, is a redistribution of ownership,”; said Skip Schmidt, Ohana regional vice president. “;Nothing's going to change. None of the stations will change format. None will change names. We will be feeding additional product to them (Molokai and Hilo stations) from Oahu ... but Kauai will stand on its own and continue its own operations. We are not changing any personnel or anything.







VRE Stations

        KAOI-AM 1110 Kihei

        KAOI-FM 95.1 Wailuku

        KDLX-FM 94.3 Makawao

        KNUQ-FM 103.7 Paauilo

        KHEI-FM 107.5 Kihei


Ohana Stations
        KQNG-FM 93.5 Lihue
        KQNG-AM 570 Lihue
        KUAI-AM 720 Eleele
        KSRF-FM 95.9 Poipu
        KSHK-FM 103.3 Kekaha
        KUMU-AM 1500 Honolulu
        KUMU-FM 94.7 Honolulu
        KPOI-FM 105.9 Honolulu
        KQMQ-FM 93.1 Honolulu
        KDDB-FM 102.7 Waipahu
        KTBH-FM 102.1 Kurtistown
        KMKK-FM 102.3 Kaunakakai





“;There won't be any interruption of service whatsoever,”; so listeners should not notice any change, he said.

As for the separation, “;it sounds bigger than it is,”; he said, adding, “;There's really no big impact on us, except for the shareholders.”;

Most of the stations Frontier has assumed control of are now licensed to Ohana Broadcast Co. LLC, while KTBH-FM is licensed to Ohana Broadcast Co. II LLC. Frontier also has broadcast interests in other markets.

“;We're happy that the day-to-day operators ... will feel no impact,”; said Jim McKeon, VRE vice president and morning man on KAOI-FM 95.1. “;The Maui group is on fire, moving forward with growth.”;

The tumult that led to the split was envisioned by industry insiders and observers in January 2008 when VRE restructured, splitting power 50-50 between station operators and money guys.

The Maui operating faction sued the California money faction in May of that year and a lengthy, acrimonious spate of litigation and mediation resulted. It led to a corporate divorce in which FCC approval was the final step.

The split gives Hawaii its new biggest radio company.

Buying stations through FCC auctions and traditional purchases, VRE had built itself a stable of 17 stations on Maui, Kauai, Oahu, the Big Island and Molokai. The split gives Frontier/Ohana 12 stations, but with 14 FM and AM stations, Pacific Radio Group Inc. led by Chuck Bergson now owns more stations in Hawaii than any other company. He could not be reached yesterday evening.


Clear expansion vision

Wailuku-based Kula Glass Co. Inc. has done something not many neighbor island businesses do. It has expanded to Oahu, to 1014 Puuwai St. on Sand Island.

“;We want to expand our operations for providing commercial and residential glass product solutions to businesses and customers on Oahu,”; said Jody Boeringa, president, in a statement.

The company's clients are primarily commercial glazing contracting services, but the expansion marks the company's addition of residential services.

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