Barely had Oceanic Time Warner Cable finished telling us that Tuesday night’s University of Hawaii basketball game was being shown "only on OC 16" when three "K-5" logos popped up slot machine-like on the revolving courtside signage.
It was a symbolic reminder that while change is under way on how we view UH sports on television, the quarter-century legacy of KFVE and its predecessors will loom for a while.
KFVE has been so inexorably linked to UH sports that more than a few fans automatically punched in the station on their clickers expecting to see the first round CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament game against Portland. This time, however, they found themselves watching "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?"
Clearly, the transition from KFVE to Oceanic’s debuting UH cable channel this fall will take some getting used to. Maybe not as much as the sight of UH’s fluorescent lime green shoes, though.
Oceanic, which has partnered with KFVE on UH pay-per-view events since 2002, will pick up the entire $2.3 million guarantee to UH and, with it, control the whole sports inventory beginning this summer.
Tuesday night we got the first high-definition glimpses of how that might unfold. Instead of the iconic Jim Leahey and Artie Wilson on KFVE on Tuesday night, we had the capable and versatile duo of Howard Dashefsky and Lori Santi behind the microphones.
They were not, however, responsible for the sponsorship background tarp that reminded us of Oceanic’s high school roots.
Dashefsky, a UH baseball player in the late 1970s and early ’80s, was a late-inning pinch hitter once again. This time for Leahey’s son, Kanoa, who was scheduled to do the play-by-play but was unable to get away from his main duties as sports director at KHON. Kanoa is expected to do the play-by-play for Saturday’s game.
Kanoa will also probably be a central figure in Oceanic’s new lineup, one that will likely offer some role for his father, though management said decisions regarding on-air candidates and production have yet to be made.
Two candidates for the key job of general manager and executive producer, former KFVE executive producer Dan Schmidt and Oceanic’s Dave Vinton, were scheduled for interviews yesterday and whomever fills the position will have a lot of say in the choice of talent and production.
For an outfit that took on the assignment about 24 hours before tipoff, having won the bidding over KFVE while waiting for UH to lift the threat of a TV blackout, OC 16 did a creditable job showing the Rainbow Warriors’ first postseason appearance in seven years.
The commentators were well prepared right down to the backstory on Portland’s purple aloha shirts, and the production, by NEP Supershooters, was professional.
"I think what they did was put together the best broadcast they could on short notice," Norman Santos, Oceanic vice president for operations, said. "I’m looking for even better things on Saturday night."
The shadow of KFVE, which has done 100 events or more annually for decades, was not far away.
"There’s a huge responsibility there," Dashefsky said. "They (KFVE) set the bar on UH (coverage) — and they set it high."
Reaching — and hopefully adding to it — will be Oceanic’s mission in the months ahead.
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.