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Tuesday, September 02, 2014         

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FCC hush on Hawaii Now concerns media council

By Erika Engle

POSTED:



The trio of TV stations known as Hawaii Now or, for newscast branding purposes, Hawaii News Now, will mark its first anniversary Oct. 26, two days before the Oct. 28 start of the November Nielsen ratings. Licensed to affiliates of Raycom Media Inc. and HITV License Subsidiary Inc., the stations include two network affiliates that are among the four top-rated stations in the market.

Media Council Hawaii took its opposition to the companies' so-called shared-services agreement to the Federal Communications Commission a year ago in the form of an emergency request to block the stations' consolidation.

There has been a back-and-forth flurry of FCC filings but no definitive ruling.

"Over the past year we have made progress by forcing Raycom and HITV to release copies of their agreements and to make some changes," said Angela Campbell, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney representing the media council. "But the fundamental problems -- the combined news operations and Raycom's control of two of the top-ranked stations in violation of the FCC's rules -- remain. We urge the FCC to take prompt action to ensure that these stations serve the public interest."

Hawaii Now General Manager Rick Blangiardi declined to comment.

MCH President Chris Conybeare last week said, "The public has a huge stake in this. ... It isn't that people have forgotten or are not unhappy; the lack of response by the FCC has made people think it might be futile."

Gerald Kato, UH journalism professor and MCH board member, said, "If allowed to continue, the shared-services agreement here and others across the country will render FCC regulation and rules involving the public interest meaningless. Our community, indeed, our nation, deserves better."

The media council has invited FCC commissioners to come see the consolidation's impact firsthand.

Kilowatt-hour killers

A TV show tomorrow night might shed energy-efficient light on new and easy ways to save energy. Produced by the Blue Planet Foundation, "Hawaii Home Energy Makeover" will highlight "simple home upgrades and lifestyle changes (that) can translate into significant energy savings," said Jeff Mikulina, executive director. "Blue Planet would like to show you just how easy it is to save money while doing your part to help Hawaii achieve energy independence."

Hosts Billy V. and Donalyn Dela Cruz will be shown visiting families in Kalihi, Nanakuli and Waikiki as well as the workplaces of aloha wear maker Tori Richard and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1186, where energy-saving steps are helping to cut costs.

It will air at 7 p.m. tomorrow on KGMB-TV.

ON THE NET:

» mediacouncil.org/wp
» blueplanetfoundation.org
Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at erika@staradvertiser.com.






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