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KAHU radio relocates their transmitter in Ka‘u


KAHU radio's antenna is taken down in Naalehu.

KAHU radio’s antenna is taken down in Naalehu.

KAHU 91.7 FM, the Shepherd, in Pahala, Hawaii (Ka’ū Community Radio Inc.) received FCC (Federal Communications Commission) approval on December 12, 2012 to dismantle its last existing tower site in Naalehu, in the southern region of Hawaii island due to the station’s increasing operational expenses over the last year and lack of consistent public, local business and corporate funding.

Crown Castle LLC, the tower owner, in cooperation with, Pacificomm Systems LLC, the tower climbers, physically removed the antennas yesterday at 10:00 a.m. from the mono-pole tower as the KAHU 91.7 FM tower crew leader, Christine Kaehuaea, Station General Manager & Owner, manually turned off the Helco circuit breaker for the last time, then assisted her tower crew consisting of Mike Munnerlyn, Leo Hill and Ron Ebert, to unbolt the equipment and remove the transmitters to take them, as well as the antennas back to the radio station to be re-installed or liquidated in efforts to pay off outstanding operational expenses. With the help from community volunteers, plus companies like Mike Munnerlyn General Contracting Services and Taylor Built Construction Co. Inc., the antenna and equipment re- installation was successful. Upon testing during Uncle Bobby’s, “Nahe, Nahe” show at 4 p.m., listening on the internet was consistent (, however the FM radio broadcast proved to be a challenge when their 600-watt transmitter malfunctioned. The station’s 150-watt transmitter was installed temporarily and will suffice until the 600-watt can be shipped for warranty repairs. Reports were received of strong coverage in Naalehu, Pahala, and Punaluu. The Station is still awaiting confirmations from the Volcano area down to Kalapana .

KAHU radio's antenna is reinstalled in at the station.

KAHU radio’s antenna is reinstalled in at the station.

“As the equipment came down, it felt good knowing that the community and our creditors are behind us in pushing the reset button”, says Christine, “it is so important that we continue service but with any business, expenses must be paid, hence our downsizing and liquidating of any and all equipment that we aren’t using.”

During July of 2012 the station’s emergency alert services were put to the test as Pahala braced for the worst wild fire in its history, covering approximately 5,600 acres of land in two separate locations while closing off Highway 11, the main artery of the region. The station was the first media on-scene with police and fire to acquire reports about the fire, road closures, detours and evacuations and relay that information to a live announcer in their studio providing instant status to listeners. In October 2012, Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii), British Columbia felt a 7.7 earthquake which prompted the Pacific Tsunami Center to issue a warning to the island of Hawaii including the District of Ka’ū. The station broadcasted an evacuation of low coastal areas, and coordinated with police in re-routing travelers to alternate routes or housing them at the station until the okay was given by the Governor of Hawaii at 1:15 a.m. Prior to June 28, 2010, this 77-mile expanse of challenging terrain from mountain to sea only heard silence or sirens in the event of an emergency.

As a native Hawaiian owned and operated community radio station, KAHU 91.7 FM is the only radio station heard from Volcano to Naalehu and impacts 11,225* residents from Ocean View to Volcano and down to Kalapana, as well as approximately 398,695** visitors that pass through the District of Ka’ū while traveling around Hawaii island.

Co-owner of KAHU 91.7 FM and Director of Ka’ū Community Radio Inc., Wendell J. Kaehuaea, has retired from daily radio station operations .

The Mission of KAHU 91.7 FM, The Shepherd, a community radio station broadcasting LIVE from Pahala, on Hawaii island, is to embrace the communities that it serves in the District of Ka’ū, around the Hawaii island, the outer islands and beyond. As the only Native Hawaiian owned and operated station in the United States and sole resource of County & State Civil Defense emergency broadcast services to the southern region of Hawaii island; the goal of KAHU 91.7 FM is to assist in keeping the doors of business open for local merchants and businesses, educate listeners to the Hawaiian culture and island diversity, support the community through a variety of unique avenues and offer a voice of friendship through music and other programming to welcome all into our KAHU 91.7 FM ‘Ohana’ (family)

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