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Ako replacing Heu at KHON in her TV news comeback

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 02:54 p.m. HST, Jun 16, 2014

Well, that was a no-brainer. Diane Ako is returning to television.

The award-winning anchor and reporter, formerly with KHNL-TV for some 13 years, will succeed Olena Heu on KHON's "Wake Up 2day" following Heu's June 27 swan song.

Ako also will do some field reporting. Her first day at the local Fox TV affiliate will be June 23, but her morning anchoring duties begin June 30.

"I'm extremely, extremely excited," Ako told TheBuzz.

"I love news and am so ready to return."

She has missed being in a newsroom environment since her last day at KHNL-TV in October 2009, one day prior to the launch of Hawaii News Now (comprising KHNL and KGMB-TV).

In the five intervening years, she wrote the "Small Talk" blog for the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser website and served as director of public relations for the three hotels of Hale­ku­lani Corp. for three of those years. She stepped down in February.

"I definitely appreciated Hale­ku­lani," Ako said. "It was a fabulous, fabulous experience. I see things from a broader and different perspective, and I think I bring a better employee to the table now."

The pieces came together quickly for Ako and KHON — Heu's departure plan and Ako's expression of interest to return to the TV news business nearly "crossed in the mail," as people of a certain age are wont to say.

The process moved not just quickly, but smoothly.

"From the moment I walked in to KHON, going in for my interview, it felt like going home," Ako said. In subsequent days, going in to re­cord an on-set anchor session with Ron Mizu­tani "felt natural."

"I'm excited to be part of the award-winning news team at KHON2," Ako said.

KHON General Manager Kristina Lockwood noted that Ako's "years of experience in broadcast journalism will add significant value to our morning newscast, and we think viewers will be excited to see her back in television news."

News Director Lori Silva appreciates that Ako "understands how busy viewers' mornings can be," which is "right in line with our goals and the content we strive to deliver on ‘Wake Up 2day.'"

Ako's new schedule will require middle-of-the-night wake-ups.

"I feel like life involves sacrifices," she said. She has a 7-year-old daughter and noted that "If I work the night shift, I will never see her. So, do I sacrifice sleep or my relationship with my daughter?"

Daughter wins. Another no-brainer.

Reach Erika Engle at 529-4303, erika@staradvertiser.com or on Twitter as @erikaengle.

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HOSSANA wrote:
So where is Heu going or was she terminated to make room for Ako? Could somebody fill me in on this irrelevant article and newswriting??
on June 16,2014 | 02:00AM
x808x wrote:
on June 16,2014 | 03:40AM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
Congratulations to Diane Ako. Regarding Olena Heu -- I seem to recall an article a couple weeks ago that she is leaving TV to create her own company. But even if Heu got pushed out -- hey, it's a doll-eat-doll world.
on June 16,2014 | 04:31AM
cojef wrote:
You're saying it's a dog eat dog world and survival of the one that has connections?
on June 16,2014 | 05:43AM
HOSSANA wrote:
Thanks. I do recall reading that small article about Olena leaving to create her own company.
on June 16,2014 | 08:55AM
erikaengle wrote:
Hossana: TheBuzz reported in previous weeks that Ms. Heu would be leaving TV news to start her own business.
on June 16,2014 | 06:47AM
HOSSANA wrote:
Thank you. Really appreciate that information.
on June 16,2014 | 08:56AM
erikaengle wrote:
My pleasure, Hossana. Mahalo for reading TheBuzz!
on June 16,2014 | 09:49AM
kiragirl wrote:
Great replacement but I stopped watching KHON news when Nestor Garcia got hired.
on June 16,2014 | 06:16AM
Manoa_Fisherman wrote:
Re-educate us on his antics.
on June 16,2014 | 06:46AM
inverse wrote:
Exactly. The only thing keeping KHON news afloat is Moore's relationship with Sajak which allows Moore to use Wheel of Fortune as a crutch to keep many tuned in to the 6pm KHON news. In terms of Heu getting pushed our or leaving on her own, both KHON and KGMB has competition now that KITV has Ann Sterling and Lara Yamada co-anchoring morning news and those two together are quite appealing to many.
on June 16,2014 | 07:23AM
Morimoto wrote:
What do you mean using Wheel of Fortune as a crutch? If people like to watch WOF but don't like KHON news they can simply wait until 6:30 and watch WOF without having to watch the news.
on June 16,2014 | 08:30AM
inverse wrote:
I will clarify. In general many do not like switching channels and heaven forbid miss even 1 sec of WOF because of switching channels. I will say the best thing about KHON, is unlike the other channels, after local news at 5:30pm, Moore is broadcast mainland/ worldnews, unlike the other channels that switch to the national broadcasters to relay mainland/world news. Despite preference to view almost any local anchor over Moore, I would choose Moore over any mainland/national newscaster providing mainland news.
on June 16,2014 | 11:54AM
Morimoto wrote:
Okay well I totally disagree with your statement that "many do not like switching channels". Most I know switch all the time. Besides, WOF is after all the news is done, so I don't see how it would inconvenience anyone to switch to KHON after watching KITV news. I don't see how having WOF on after the KHON news helps KHON gain viewers.
on June 16,2014 | 12:12PM
Morimoto wrote:
Nestor has got to be the most irritating reporter ever. I can't stand his stuttering voice. Don't know why he always seems to get the lead stories, maybe it's favoritism since I really don't know how viewers put up with him.
on June 16,2014 | 08:29AM
twitter6 wrote:
on June 16,2014 | 08:37AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
I stopped watching KHON news when they hired Nestor Garcia, he of the "I wasn't aware I was breaking any law" infamy. What was going thru their minds when they decided to hire him. Anyway, glad to see they stopped taking their meds in time to make a good, clear decision on hiring Ako. I always liked her presence and new reporting.
on June 16,2014 | 06:32AM
Morimoto wrote:
Now to mention Garcia has the most irritating voice of any reporter I've ever heard. I mean really, the way he talks is annoying and doesn't sound professional. I know we in Hawaii have people with all kinds of accents when speaking English, but when I'm watching the news I want someone who speaks clear, understandable, standard English, not someone who seems like they're stuttering along.
on June 16,2014 | 08:33AM
BigOpu wrote:
LOL! I guess I'm not the only one. It tell my wife this everytime he hits the screen. I figured he's been out of the game for a while and kind of rusty. In the mean time, he's the rustiest of them all...all channels.
on June 16,2014 | 09:45AM
loquaciousone wrote:
KHON's gain is KGMB's loss. I think KGMB kept the wrong horses when they unceremoniously dumped Diane and Dash.
on June 16,2014 | 06:48AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I agree!
on June 16,2014 | 10:53AM
PCWarrior wrote:
Yeah I always thought Diane was good on tv.
on June 16,2014 | 03:32PM
nitpikker wrote:
will be switching stations...again.
on June 16,2014 | 07:19AM
pauliboy wrote:
kathie lee and hoda, nuff.
on June 16,2014 | 07:59AM
twitter6 wrote:
KITV would gain viewers if they got a new sports anchor. Someone that played at least collegiate sports and with some humility
on June 16,2014 | 08:40AM
false wrote:
I thought he was a yokozuna turned announcer.
on June 16,2014 | 03:47PM
DAGR81 wrote:
Great news...rescued Mizutani's broadcasting career.
on June 16,2014 | 09:07AM
fiveo wrote:
Good to hear about Diane Ako's return to TV news. I enjoy watching KHON in the morning while working out at the gym. Like the fact that they start at 4:30 am. and just like the morning crew that they have. Ako will be a plus. I also like to watch KITV in the morning but mostly to watch the weather report from Cam Tran. What a babe.
on June 16,2014 | 09:09AM
maafifloos wrote:
Great! Ako is a good news paersonality. Not a laugher, like local women who no can speak without giggle, giggle, laugh, laugh. I no watch KHON morning cause Heu speaks baby talk.
on June 16,2014 | 09:16AM
Morimoto wrote:
Call me old fashioned but I like Paula Akana the best of all the female anchors, including the weather persons. The rest of the female reporters (esp. Marisa Yamane and Kathy Muneno) are like you said, a bunch of immature, giggly, pea brained, know nothings. Joe Moore used to be good but I find he's self promoting more and more, don't know how he gets away with it. The sports reporters for KITV and KHON all all pretty good too.
on June 16,2014 | 09:42AM
psychodude wrote:
For one thing, both Mizutani & Ako has something in common--both being former Halekulani employees. I believe it's Mizutani's personality that led to the "felt natural" comment--he's just real and has a broad knowledge of of just about everything. Ditto with Taizo. As for Ako, please beef up your wardrobe (think Lara Yamada) and match the professional look the KHON men have. KHON is my AM news choice so I'll give Ako/Mizuatni a chance knowing KITV is an option.
on June 16,2014 | 09:29AM
jmarie wrote:
Halekulani employees, I wonder if Ako or Mizutani were one of the Halekulani employees who kicked out the local entertainer and his family because of their brown skin? Could it be?
on June 16,2014 | 09:39AM
hanalei395 wrote:
According to Halekulani, it was a security guard, just hired and on the job for a week, who ordered Weldon Kekauoha and his family to leave. Kekauoha and family spent the Mothers' Day weekend at the hotel. According to the guard, he said that a Caucasian woman guest told him, "Those local people over there, they can't be guests. I want them removed".
on June 16,2014 | 10:17AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Yes, it was Ako. The PR director of the hotel had guests kicked out because of the color of their skin. That's quite a hot take.
on June 16,2014 | 02:12PM
jmarie wrote:
Was it Ako that said "dam dark skin local always sneaking in and merking up the pool"?
on June 16,2014 | 03:58PM
hanalei395 wrote:
No, weirdo, you did. You just said that.
on June 16,2014 | 04:15PM
jmarie wrote:
Oh my struck a nerve Hanalei, I thought I smelt a Caucasian Halekulani employee trying to act like they don't respect locals, good try. Hanalei's House without a key as long as your the right color!
on June 16,2014 | 07:15PM
Papakolea wrote:
I've always enjoyed watching Ako. Very professional and smart. She'll be a welcome addition to the morning team.
on June 16,2014 | 09:32AM
Morimoto wrote:
I don't watch the morning news but I find most of the female anchors and weather persons to be almost intolerable, with the exception of Paula Akana. The rest seem giggly and pea brained and unprofessional. KHON is really going downhill after they hired Marisa Yamane and Nestor Garcia. Even Joe Moore is doing a lot of self promoting these days. Their sportscasters Spanger and Demello are good though. I might switch back to KITV. I love it when Kekaula wears those bright shirts and looks like a giant yellow blob on TV.
on June 16,2014 | 09:46AM
jmarie wrote:
Awe Kekaula is nothing but a fat bully, has to have his wife tie his shoes cause he can't bend over his opu to reach the laces.
on June 16,2014 | 11:28AM
Morimoto wrote:
Who does Kekaula bully? Does he make Jamai fetch him 3 plate lunches or else threaten to sit on him? I personally like his outspokenness and delivery.
on June 16,2014 | 12:03PM
fbiguy wrote:
He is not fat. KITV broadcasts are not in HD, but in a stretched-out digital mode that long went out of fashion. I rarely watch because I enjoy good video quality.
on June 16,2014 | 03:52PM
mongoosa wrote:
Ugh....they are just like politicians and keep coming back. Shutting off the TV! The recycling is killing the news channels.
on June 16,2014 | 10:11AM
salsacoquibx wrote:
Good News
on June 16,2014 | 10:49AM
false wrote:
Taizo? You mean that fool that tries so hard to imitate Augie T? When he isn't busy beating up his people, that is.
on June 16,2014 | 03:57PM
Imua45 wrote:
Great move & a perfect switch for KHON. That move may bring back some faithfuls. Heu just did not have it & a little too silly & immature at times. Ako much more professional.
on June 16,2014 | 11:37PM
HAJAA1 wrote:
I watch KITV news nowadays because 1) it's an hour long, and 2) I can't take my eyes off of Yunji.
on June 16,2014 | 11:41PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I thought your town side was pilau.
on June 17,2014 | 01:26AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
She is Constance Lau's identical twin sister.
on June 17,2014 | 01:25AM
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