Hawaii Film Blog

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Mulls Buying TV Station

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), a quasi-governmental agency whose mission is to aid Native Hawaiians, is considering the purchase of local CBS affiliate KGMB. Emmis Communications, KGMB's current owner, has put the station on the block for $40 million. There are mixed reactions to this potential move--some are wary of a government-owned TV station broadcasting propagandistic messages, but others believe that an OHA-owned station would better serve the local community, particularly the Native Hawaiian community.

In its coverage of OHA's proposal today, the Honolulu Advertiser quotes two of OHA's trustees--Oswald Stender and Boyd Mossman--as saying that the KGMB purchase is merely an investment opportunity and not a vehicle for pro-Hawaiian broadcasts and initiatives. However, the same article later states that Stender "noted that ownership of KGMB additionally would open doors in the broadcast industry for Hawaiian students."

Furthermore, in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin's take on the issue, OHA had consulted with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network of Canada (APTN), which owns and operates a radio and TV station. According to an OHA staff memo on the KGMB proposal, such ownership "is consistent with the firm belief and experience among indigenous peoples in Canada that ownership and control of media is connected to cultural survival." This same memo also allegedly states that an OHA-owned TV station could serve as a "medium of accurate and timely communication regarding Hawaiian affairs to the general public" and a "multi-media and technology center that serves as a platform for employment, job training and educational opportunities for native Hawaiians."

Hmmmm, doesn't sound like a mere financial investment opportunity to me...although there certainly does need to be more coverage of Native Hawaiian issues in the broadcast media. OHA will put the KGMB purchase to a vote among all its trustees today.

>> OHA considering KGMB purchase [Hnl Advertiser, 7/6/06]
>> Buying KGMB TV on OHA agenda [Hnl Star-Bulletin, 7/6/06]

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