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Longtime Hilo radio icon Mel "Mynah Bird" Medeiros dies

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 12:58 p.m. HST, Oct 19, 2012

Melvin “Mynah Bird” Medeiros died Thursday morning in California, where he had gone for treatment of pulmonary fibrosis, or scarring on the lungs. He was 72.

His wife Barbara and son Mel Junior were preparing to take him to Stanford University Medical Center for a follow-up appointment when he became unresponsive, the younger Medeiros said. Paramedics were summoned and worked to revive him all the way to the emergency room, where efforts continued but were unsuccessful.

Medeiros’ 50-plus-year radio career spanned several Hilo radio stations and generations of listeners who woke up to his news and comment, music and entertainment each weekday morning.

He was considered the “Aku” of Hawaii island, a reference to Hal “Aku” Lewis, who reigned supreme over Honolulu airwaves for decades before FM radio signals dominated the industry.

Medeiros’ radio career began while he was a student at Hilo High School. He worked at KIPA radio as well as at the old Mamo Theater, Mel Jr.

After graduation he went into the Navy and served as a radioman for four years, then returned home and resumed his commercial radio career.

“He held a contest, when he first started on the radio,” to come up with a name, said son Malcom. A listener said to him, “‘You know what, you always talking, chirping chirping chirping, you sound like one Mynah Bird, so how’s that for a name,’” Malcom said, “so that’s how he became Mynah Bird.”

Medeiros is survived by his wife Barbara, his wife of 46 years, and sons Mel Jr., 45, Malcom, 41, and Jason, 29.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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