programming

Truly A Privilege

 

A Special Message

By Robbie Alm
Outgoing Chair, PBS Hawai‘i Board of Directors

 

Robbie Alm, Outgoing Chair, PBS Hawai‘iAll of us who serve on the PBS Hawai‘i Board feel so privileged and honored to do so. It begins when we walk toward our new headquarters and pass the wall containing the names of all of you who supported the building of our new home. It is at once humbling and inspiring. And we know that we have a responsibility to honor the trust you have given us with your gifts.

 

As we come into and walk throughout the building, we can see – literally through all the glass – a very special and dedicated group of employees making the mission of PBS Hawai‘i live every day. They are the best at what they do and they approach their tasks with aloha for each other and for all of you who do us the honor of letting us become a part of your lives. And it is our privilege to support them.

 

PBS Hawai‘i President and CEO Leslie Wilcox and Board Chair Robbie Alm untie the maile at this morning’s blessing ceremony and donor thank-you event at the public television station’s new home at 315 Sand Island Access Road in Honolulu. Photo: PBS Hawai‘iHawai‘i President and CEO Leslie Wilcox and Board Chair Robbie Alm untying the maile lei at the grand opening of the station’s new home, September 21, 2016.

 

And as we have watched it grow, we have all come to understand how special and really extraordinary HIKI NŌ has become. The young people of Hawai‘i are now storytellers of nationwide fame and distinction, as they win award after award in national competitions. They show the skills honed through diligent and demanding work, under the guidance of our great HIKI NŌ team, including Executive Producer Robert Pennybacker, Managing Editor Sue Yim, Online Editor Nikki Minamoto and Administrative Assistant Susan Waldman. There were those who said that HIKI NŌ would never happen – and if by chance we got a statewide student news network of public, private and charter schools started, it would most certainly fail. Our young people, mostly from public schools, every day prove them wrong.

 

Alm, during his service as Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, with Deputy Director Susan Doyle, circa 1992.Alm, during his service as Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, with Deputy Director Susan Doyle, circa
1992.

 

It is also truly a great privilege and pleasure for all of us to support the very special leadership of Leslie Wilcox. She left the bright lights, fame and remuneration of commercial television, where she was one of the top-rated on-air newscasters in town, to join us, and she has been an amazing force since the day she got here. Her excellence as a journalist made a home in a place that features great public affairs programming (such as Insights), the drawing out of our community leaders (Leslie’s own Long Story Short) and showcasing special stories of Hawai‘i, making sure they are shared across our Islands and with the world. Nothing could speak more strongly to that than the 2015 studio concert of Jimmy Borges and the recent Eddie and Myrna Kamae film festival Leslie was entrusted to present. We are so lucky that PBS Hawai‘i turns out to be her life’s passion and we are in awe as we watch her go, and go, and go.

 

We are privileged to work with a great staff: Ashley Aurellano, Paula Biondine, Emily Bodfish, Linda Brock, Brian Bueza, Forest Butler, Meriel Collins, Alison Crabb, Patty Doo, Todd Fink, Paul Hayashida, Sam Hee, Drew Hironaga, Emilie Howlett, Lori Kaya, John Kovacich, Terry Lonokapu, Jill Loving, Karen Maddocks, Mariko Miho, Nikki Miyamoto, John Nakahira, Lawrence Pacheco, Robert Pennybacker, Liberty Peralta, Michael Powell, Richard Reyes, Jason Suapaia, Christina Sumida, Rianne Tsutsui, Susan Waldman and Karen Yamamoto.

 

And our Board members are so lucky to work as a group that brings great community wisdom, an ethic of laboring for love and for Hawai‘i, and an insistence on quality and passion, that includes: Muriel Anderson, Susan Bendon, Jodi Endo Chai, Keola Donaghy, Matt Emerson, Jake Fergus, Jason Fujimoto, Joanne Grimes, Jason Haruki, Noelani Kalipi, Joy Miura Koerte, Kamani Kuala‘au, Mary Ann Manahan, Bettina Mehnert, Cameron Nekota, Aaron Salā, Julie Shimonishi, Ka‘iulani Sodaro, Candy Suiso, Kent Tsukamoto, Huy Vo, Bruce Voss and shortly, Jim Duffy and Ian Kitajima. It is said that one of the best measures of a person is the company he or she keeps, and this company speaks for itself.

 

For me, this month brings to a close one of the most treasured journeys of my life. Education television was born in the same UH College of Education building in which my parents Dick and Julie Alm taught. As Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the Hawai‘i Public Broadcasting Authority was a key part of my everyday life. And later when PBS Hawai‘i came into being as a community licensee, I joined the Board in 1999 and became Chair, succeeding Neil Hannahs, in 2009. Making sure that we finished the capital campaign, that we built and moved into our new building, and that we set ourselves up in a way that would allow us to lead in this exciting century, were goals for many of us, and certainly for me.

 

And now leadership passes to new and very worthy hands. As part of Hawai‘i Island’s outstanding Fujimoto family, our new Board Chair Jason Fujimoto has the experience, the skills and the youth to lead our great Board and Staff to ever higher levels of achievement and service.

 

It truly has been a privilege and a great honor.

 

Ke Akua pū a hui hou,

Robbie Alm Signature

 

It Just Doesn’t Add Up – Federal De-Funding of Public Media

Special Message


Kent K. Tsukamoto, Treasurer, PBS Hawai‘iI’m a numbers guy. It’s my job.

 

As a longtime CPA and as managing partner of one of Hawai‘i’s largest locally owned financial services companies, I know that numbers tell stories, too.

 

So, with the White House handing Congress a proposed federal budget that would de-fund the nonprofit Corporation for Public Broadcasting, I took a closer look at the numbers in the current federal investment.

 

$1.35. That’s the cost of public broadcasting per citizen per year – less than the price of a manapua.

 

For years now, Republicans and Democrats have vigorously argued and then come together in a bipartisan investment to give public media $445 million a year, with most of the money going directly to support free, noncommercial, locally run PBS television stations and NPR radio stations across the country.

 

$445 million is 1/100th of 1 percent of the nation’s budget, amounting to $1.35 per citizen per year. The national PBS folks point out that’s less than a cup of coŸffee. Here, we like to say: That’s less than the price of a manapua – and a small manapua at that.

 

Most years for PBS Hawai‘i, our part of the national funding amounts to 15 percent, or about $1 million, of our annual revenues. We use the federal investment as seed money to attract contributions from the private sector – “viewers like you.” Individuals, businesses and charitable foundations pitch in. It’s these private gifts and grants, fanned by the spark of federal funding, that provide the bulk of our statewide programming and outreach.

 

Among the oŸfferings that the federal investment helps us acquire: curriculum-based PBS KIDS programming that boosts our children’s learning; the science show NOVA; the investigative program Frontline; and performing arts on Great Performances. The federal funding also helps to create shows like Na Mele, the only weekly television show featuring traditional Hawaiian music; and Insights on PBS Hawai‘i, the only live hour-long interactive public affairs show on weekly statewide television.

 

As a lean local nonprofit that’s able to leverage the federal money and also scale our services by sharing program costs nationally in public media, PBS Hawai‘i has a track record of delivering quality shows at very reasonable costs.

 

To guard against political interference in program content, Congress has provided two-year “forward funding” as a firewall. All of this computes to a successful public-private partnership.

 

As Neil Shapiro, who heads WNET in New York, observed: “It’s not like cutting this would have any appreciable effect on any taxpayer across the country, but losing PBS would.”

 

In my view, this is especially true when it comes to the value of PBS’ in-depth news coverage, arts and culture, a safe haven for keiki and a trusted place to air diffŸering perspectives on local issues.

 

It’s a privilege to volunteer my time as Treasurer of PBS Hawai‘i’s Board of Directors – because I want to support a community treasure that is efficient and collaborative in costs, while providing a significant multiple in the value returned to the people of Hawai‘i.

 

I see how the federal investment enriches the people of Hawai‘i and keeps our stories alive, our music playing and our home a better, safer place. The numbers tell the story.

 

If you’d like to help support public media organizations like PBS Hawai‘i:

  1. Contact your Hawai‘i Congressional delegates.
  2. Go to ProtectMyPublicMedia.org and sign a petition.
  3. Continue to pitch in with your private dollars as you can.

Thank you

 

Download the Program Guide

PBS HAWAI‘I: Home is Here

The July 2017 Program Guide

Summer of Adventure. Travel the world with a slate of new programming.
Download the JULY 2017 Program GuideClick to Download

Download the July 2017 Quick Reference Guide.

The June 2017 Program Guide

PBS Hawai‘i presents Kū Kanaka / Stand Tall and more.
JUNE 2017 Program GuideClick to Download

 

Download the June 2017 Quick Reference Guide.


A Threat to Public Broadcasting’s “Spark”

Protect My Public Media

If you’d like to help support public media organizations like PBS Hawai‘i:

  1. Contact your Hawai‘i Congressional delegates.
  2. Go to ProtectMyPublicMedia.org and sign a petition.
  3. Continue to pitch in with your private dollars as you can.

Thank you


Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiAt first, when Ronald Reagan launched his Presidency in 1981, he didn’t like the idea of federal monies going to fund PBS and NPR stations across the country.

 

Then he saw how public-service media stations leveraged a relatively small amount of federal funding to gain private donations. One federal dollar might turn into, say, eight dollars, with citizens, businesses and charitable foundations adding the weight of their support.

 

“Government should provide the spark and the private sector should do the rest,” President Reagan said.

 

We at PBS Hawai‘i believe this is a good public-private partnership, centered on education, public safety and civic leadership. Last year, 9.5 percent of our revenues came from the federal investment.

 

Now comes the Trump Administration, signaling its intention to “privatize” – meaning de-fund – the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the private nonprofit that distributes funds to public media stations. Other Administration targets are the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

As I write this, two weeks before publication, I’m getting ready to go to Washington, D.C. for a national public media summit, at which attendees will seek to determine President Trump’s plans. Is he really going to wage a battle against federal seed money for public broadcasting?

 

The public broadcasting community says the notion of eliminating the federal funding in its mission is “nothing new.” It points out that similar ideas have been “soundly rejected on a bipartisan basis.”

 

According to the industry publication Current, the chair of a key House Appropriations subcommittee, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), predicts that such a move would fail because “there is a strong constituency for public broadcasting in both the House and Senate.”

 

Indeed, strong bipartisan support usually results in an appropriation of about $1.35 per year per American. Still, leaders of public broadcasting say they must take funding threats seriously. They’re asking to talk with Administration officials, and station general managers from all over the country are taking their case to Capitol Hill.

 

PBS Hawai‘i’s Board of Directors already has written to Hawai‘i’s Congressional delegates.

 

However, America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) isn’t calling out and mobilizing citizens at this time. Without a fleshed-out proposal from the Trump Administration, leaders are monitoring the situation closely. We are urging viewers to register your support at protectmypublicmedia.org.

 

Aloha a hui hou,
Leslie signature

 

More incumbents sitting out debates?

INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I: The set of INSIGHTS

 

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiGeneral Managers of PBS stations across the country met last month for a strategy session, looking at what kind of programming is needed most in our country, and how to make the content more responsive and more interactive.

 

And in this election year of deep divisions and negativity, we compared notes on our television stations’ political debates and other forums. Longtime station managers remarked that they’d never seen so many local incumbents decline to appear with their challengers on live telecasts and live web streams.

 

“These incumbents have the money to create their own messages through advertising, and that’s what they’re doing instead,” said Tom Axtell, the head of Vegas PBS and a member of the PBS Board of Directors. Another GM noted that many candidates no longer feel obligated to appear alongside their competition because they can speak to the public through low-cost social media.

 

In Hawai‘i, we had our share of incumbents turning down participation in our weekly election forum on Insights on PBS Hawai‘i, noting scheduling conflicts. We know that candidates are busy, so we generally ask them early. And we realize that incumbents may not be terribly motivated to let their lesser-known competitors receive statewide air time.

 

In addition, incumbents from 34 Hawai‘i State House and Senate races faced no opposition from another major-party candidate.

 

We even had a challenger withdraw from a General Election forum. That was Honolulu Mayoral candidate and political veteran Charles Djou. His campaign contended that it had never committed to the forum. (Before the Primary Election, Djou did take part in our forum with incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell and former Mayor Peter Carlisle.)

 

The rebuffs by candidates in some major races had a silver lining, freeing up TV time for district races, especially outside Honolulu and beyond O‘ahu. Incumbents and challengers with different ideas sat down at the same table, engaging in some interesting, vigorous and respectful discussions.

 

Viewers could feel the fresh breeze of democracy. At its best, this civil discourse provided much-needed substance and helped voters make their choice at the polls.

 

As Communications Professor John Hart of Hawai‘i Pacific University commented in a Honolulu Civil Beat podcast with reporter Chad Blair last October 10: “I still believe [debates] are our best chance to see past the pseudo-events, the slick advertisements. When you hear someone talk for an hour, you get a sense of who they are.”

 

This public media organization wants to thank all of the election candidates who accepted our invitation to inform voters by answering viewer questions and taking part in civil discourse on Insights on PBS Hawai‘i.

 

A hui hou (until next time)…
Leslie signature

 

 

Raising the Bar – The Best Way to Express Our Gratitude

Viewer thank you note

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiMy job is essentially to be a problem-solver. There’s certainly enough to reach for, as the fragmented worlds of media and education require more focus, more engagement, more depth, more context. And in this rapidly changing world, answers are a moving target.

 

But that’s not the toughest part of my job. As in other things in life, the simplest things can be the most difficult. And quite simply, it is very difficult to adequately express thanks.

 

Our unpaid Board of Directors and lean staff could spend most of the day writing thank-you letters or making calls – and it simply wouldn’t be enough to express the gratitude we feel here for what citizens are supporting.

 

After we lost our lease at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the people of Hawai‘i and several mainland-based charitable foundations with ties to Hawaii gave us more than $30 million to establish a modern stand-alone multimedia center on Nimitz Highway at the entrance to Sand Island, PBS Hawai‘i’s Clarence T.C. Ching Campus. This nonprofit now owns an acre of land and a two-story building, which (thankfully) came in on time and on budget.

 

And still, after building us a new house, some viewers thank us. Here’s an example, from a woman who wrote by hand: “I hope you don’t get tired of my thank-you notes but I gotta say how much it means to me to watch [PBS Hawai‘i].” Here’s another hand-written note: “PBS Hawai‘i is contributing to society. I want PBS to continue this way. That’s why I make my donation.”

 

See what I mean? With a heart full of gratitude, I want you to know that we are dedicated to making the most out of your gift of a new building and your support of programming. We want to raise the bar on our stories and in quality in all areas, including our events for adults and keiki. We want to “be there” for our state – all of it, not just metropolitan Oahu. We want to be trusted for fairness and accuracy. And when we make mistakes, we want to own up and do better. Maybe that’s the best way to convey our thanks.

 

Also, we’re offering all the thousands of building donors a guided tour of the television station. Next month, after we complete technical troubleshooting, install a photovoltaic energy system and add donor signage, we’ll have an opening ceremony. But because of space concerns, we can’t invite all who made the building possible. So we invite NEW HOME donors to arrange a personal tour, now or later, by calling Christina Sumida at (808) 462-5045. Quite simply, we’d like to thank you in person.

 

Mahalo piha,
Leslie signature

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I watch PBS Hawai‘i programming?

View our comprehensive list of broadcast, cable and satellite channels on our Where to Watch Us page.

 

Who owns PBS Hawai‘i?

PBS Hawai‘i, a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member station, is a community-supported public television station licensed to the Hawai‘i Public Television Foundation. A 20 – 25 member volunteer Board of Directors made up of Hawai‘i citizens directs the policies carried out by PBS Hawai‘i’s staff and volunteers.

 

Where does PBS Hawai‘i get its operating funds?

PBS Hawai‘i relies in large part upon contributions from individual viewers and support from local businesses and charitable foundations. We also qualify for grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and receive 1% of proceeds from the cable franchise fee.

 

What is the biggest financial challenge facing PBS Hawai‘i?

PBS Hawai‘i faces the constant challenge of upgrading aging equipment and facilities. Additionally, costs to acquire and broadcast our quality programming have risen substantially over the past few years. Unlike commercial stations, one of the largest sources of our revenue is our individual supporters, who help ensure that we can afford the $1.6 million it costs to purchase and air new shows each year.

 

Why is PBS Hawai‘i worthy of support?

As a non-profit organization, PBS Hawai‘i is truly Hawai‘i’s community station. First, no other station offers you the breadth and depth of programming that PBS Hawai‘i does. Second, no other station offers you the quality of programming that PBS Hawai‘i does, and lastly, no other station showcases the arts and talents of all people or highlights the concern of communities here in Hawai‘i, across the country, and around the world. PBS Hawaii doesn’t create programs to make money, we raise money to create meaningful programs for you and all the people of Hawai‘i. PBS Hawai‘i is the only locally owned TV broadcaster in the State of Hawai‘i.

 

Why did you replace my favorite program?

We receive our programs from a wide range of sources, including satellite delivery and local production in our own facility. On rare occasions these services may fail to deliver a needed program in time for its broadcast or the program received is not broadcast quality. Consequently, it may necessitate changes to our schedule. Whenever possible, we do make every effort to alert viewers and inform them if and when the show will be rescheduled through our program guide, here on our website, Facebook and Twitter.