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Maui radio station marks 37th year of broadcasting

By Erika Engle


When the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. Friday, KAOI-FM 95.1 Wailuku, the first FM station on a neighbor island, will start celebrating its 37th anniversary.

On June 10, 1974, electricity was switched on, and the plate voltage and plate current all combined to spark KAOI to life.

KAOI, as in "Maui no ka oi," is still a couple of "short years from catching up with Jack Benny," said John Detz, president of parent company Visionary Related Entertainment Inc., but he added, "I am very proud that 40 percent of our staff have been here between 25 and 37 years."

From a so-called MOR (middle-of-the-road) station, playing Barry Manilow and similar mellow artists, it transitioned to AOR, or album-oriented rock, in the early 1980s, said vice president and air personality Jim McKeon. "Currently, we characterize KAOI FM (95.1 and 97.7 West Maui) as a classic-based adult alternative rock — lots of Dave Mathews Band, Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson, Beatles, Stones, Zep, Chili Peppers, Green Day, U2," he said. It also is home to the syndicated "Nights with Alice Cooper" show lamented by many Honolulu listeners since it left the market here.


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Some 1,400 people were served a chicken katsu, kalua pork and cabbage, or hamburger steak plate for 76 cents, many opting to pay 10 cents more for a Pepsi at the Keeaumoku Street L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, in Walmart Tuesday.

People lined up "almost to the light pole where Makaloa (Street) is," said Brandon Dela Cruz, L&L marketing director.

They always do.

This is the sixth year L&L has staged the cheap-eats event as a fundraiser for Goodwill Industries of Hawaii Inc.

The event collected nearly $1,200 for Goodwill this year, and has raised between $6,000 and $7,000 over the years, Dela Cruz said, adding that L&L stages an annual Christmas party for Goodwill participants and sponsors its fishing tournament as well.


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at

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