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LOOKING BACK


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Former radio, TV reporter now works for firefighters

By A.J. McWhorter

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:16 a.m. HST, Aug 05, 2011


Melanie Granfors came to the islands on a whim from the Midwest and landed a job at a local radio station. Within a few months she was a television reporter. Hawaii remains a special place to her; it was where she started her family and career. This month we look back at her time in Hawaii and what she is doing today.

Granfors was born and raised in Pontiac, Mich., and attended the University of Michigan, majoring in journalism. Initially Granfors was interested in pursuing a career in magazine and print journalism, but she landed a job at the local radio station.

"I read the weather reports and school snow closings between music sets," she said.

In 1976 a deejay boyfriend of hers landed a job at KGMB radio with Aku. Granfors decided to come along and quickly fell in love with the islands. "I had never been anywhere west of Michigan. When I landed in Honolulu I was completely overwhelmed," she said. "The smell of flowers permeated, even at the airport. The beautiful warm breeze … being able to see the ocean from everywhere. I had never experienced anything like it … and I was hooked."

Granfors would soon land a radio job at KHVH. "At that time it was three networks: ABC, CBS and NBC radio news. I basically ran the broadcast board and every hour broke in with some local headlines," she said.

John Adameck, a KHON cameraman, came to the KHVH studio one day and suggested to Granfors that she give television a try. "A few months later I was auditioning in front of Barbara Tanabe, got my first TV news job as a reporter and started my KHON career," she said.

In 1979 Granfors married Adameck, and they would have two daughters together.

She would spend nearly a decade at KHON reporting and anchoring at times with BJ Sams, Ray Lovell and Les Keiter. "I learned everything about TV news and reporting at KHON and loved every minute of it. I always liked feature and lifestyle and inspiring-people stories the best," she said.

After her second daughter was born, Granfors returned to work at KHVH radio and also hosted "Dialog" on PBS Hawaii for several years.

In 1986 Adameck and Granfors moved to Seattle, landing a job at CBS affiliate KIRO, where she worked with former KITV anchor Susan Hutchison and former KHON colleague Ed Evans.

Granfors worked at KIRO until 1995, reporting and anchoring. She earned a master's degree in education from the University of Washington and taught high school journalism and TV production for a couple of years. She also worked as a media coordinator for Pugent Power.

After her divorce in 1990, she married Seattle area firefighter Jim Ito. Today Granfors works as a public information officer for the Shoreline Fire Department, near Seattle.

Being a dog lover, she started a nonprofit organization called K-9-1-1 Therapy Dogs on Call.

"My dogs and I are part of an international organization called Delta Society, where dogs go into hospitals, schools, nursing homes, etc. and bring a little bit of joy and comfort to patients," she said.

Granfors also keeps herself busy doing voice-overs for Seattle area companies and consulting work.

Check out her website at beyondthecallsolutions.com.———

A.J. McWhorter, a collector of film and videotape cataloging Hawaii's TV history, has worked as a producer, writer and researcher for both local and national media. Email him at flashback@hawaii.rr.com.






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